Image: close up of the underside of a starfish, where you can see the suckers

The Strangest Legs in the Sea: Could Your Toes Out-Sniff a Starfish?

Ready to explore the secret world of the ocean’s biggest star? Brainless and beautiful, these creatures gallop across the ocean floor in a sea of sniffing legs—yes, sniffing legs. But how do starfish do what starfish…do? Your next trip to the seashore won’t be the same once you know!

So often, we miss the wonder right underneath our noses because we don’t even know it’s there! But never again will you be fooled by the chill, lounging appearance of a starfish on a rock. On the contrary: you’ll be on to the antics of these ferocious hunters and their smelly legs like kelp on a decorator crab.

Image: close up of the underside of a starfish, where you can see the suckers
Source: Samuel Bordo // Unsplash

Starfish are big suckers!

No, but really, they are.  From the tips of their legs—which can number anywhere between 5 and 40 1—all the way to their mouths, hundreds, if not thousands of these tiny, tube-like suckers drag the starfish around the ocean floor.

This isn’t just about locomotion, though: these suckers also smell, finding and attacking food for our brainless star through some fascinating chemical senses. Whichever leg has the strongest pull in a certain direction is in charge, dragging the rest of them along and making the starfish look like it’s galloping towards its prey.

But that’s not the only trick the starfish has up its legs! If one of its legs gets ripped off, not only is the starfish able to grow a new one, that disembodied leg has the power to regrow an ENTIRE BODY! 2

They’re pretty phenomenal creatures when you stop to take a closer look. So, who else is better to help us than our favorite channel, Deep Look? C’mon, check these crazy legs out.

Via: Deep Look 3

Deep Look always gives us the most incredible chances to peer closer at the world around us and discover the wonder waiting to be found. If you’d like to see more of their content, check out their YouTube library!

There are so many awesome things happening around you right now that you don’t know about!

It’s kind of crazy, right? I, for one, never thought much of starfish. Sure, I’d get super excited when I spotted one on a rock or at the aquarium, but that was about the extent of it. But now that I know a bit more about how these creatures live their lives? Whew! I’m obsessed.

There’s so much going on right in front of us that has the power to provide endless wonder! Sometimes, we just need someone to show us that it’s there.

This is the truth that has inspired so many to look closer: peering under rocks, into space, through a microscope, and down to the ocean’s deep. We have a drive to collaborate, and in a lot of ways, most of our collaborations don’t happen between humans. Instead, we get to know our surroundings, studying the way nature works and seeing where we can make connections—collaborating with the entire world. This is how we end up feeding sea grass to cows to curb global warming and shoving hair into nylon stockings to soak up oil spills. Who knows, maybe someday a starfish-inspired robot will be cleaning your car!

So, how do you feel about starfish now? A little perplexed? Shocked? Excited? In awe?

Make sure the next time you see one, you’ll pass this wonder along, too!

Want more beach wonders?

While you’re out there checking out starfish, you may be skipping over some other fascinating things, too. Like the sand you’re standing on… do you know what that’s gone through? (Hint: it has to do with the rear of one of the starfish’s cousins.) Or how about those cute snails surfing on the beach? What’s their story?

Or perhaps… you’d like to see proof of The Kraken?

Visit these articles to answer these questions:

The Most Marvelous Butts of the Ocean!

Make your next trip to the beach even more exciting by discovering the journey that the sand between your toes has gone through! Sometimes, the most important players in our lives are vastly overlooked. So today, we relish in the wonder of the sea cucumber: the most humble, hungry hot dog you’ll ever find saving the world!

Read More
A Hilarious Look at the Tiniest One-Footed Surfers! 

Beachgoers beware, there are some crazy surfers on the loose! They are small, shelled, and are up to some strange antics. But don’t worry, unless you’re what’s for dinner, you’re probably safe, and certainly in for some entertainment! 

Read More
How the “Kraken” Was Caught On Film! (Twice!)

How is it that one of the world’s largest animals still remains a mystery? In an original interview with our head writer Samantha Burns, marine biologist Dr. Nathan J. Robinson chronicles the day he captured real-life footage of a legendary creature that has been the scuttlebutt of sailors for centuries—and how we could do it next!

Read More

The simplest things we can each do to find joy are to watch the world around us and ask questions.

Letting ourselves follow our curiosities can lead us down new paths of fun that make the world feel just a bit brighter.

As always, stay open to new possibilities! (Remember: starfish car-cleaning-robot. Can someone make that a thing, please?!)

  • Sam

Don’t miss out on a single article!

Enjoy unlimited access to over 500 articles & podcast that give you a positive perspective on the state of the world and show you practical ways you can help.

Sign up now!

Notes:

  1. https://www.howstuffworks.com/about-wendy-bowman.htm. “Some Starfish Have Up to 40 Arms! Plus 10 Other Starfish Facts.” HowStuffWorks, 14 Apr. 2020, animals.howstuffworks.com/marine-life/starfish.htm. Accessed 12 Nov. 2020.
  2. “SEVERED STARFISH LEG GROWING A NEW BODY | Bristol Aquarium.” Bristolaquarium.co.uk, 2016, www.bristolaquarium.co.uk/blog/uncategorized/severed-starfish-leg-growing-a-new-body/. Accessed 12 Nov. 2020.
  3. Deep Look. “Ever Seen a Starfish Gallop? | Deep Look.” YouTube, 20 Oct. 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rxf_2EgwfE&feature=emb_title. Accessed 12 Nov. 2020.
Published: December 2, 2020

Image: Samantha Burns

Sam Burns

Former Editor-In-Chief

Sam wrote and edited hundreds of articles during her time on the Goodness Exchange team from 2016-2021. She wrote about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the Goodness Exchange, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and procurer of cheeses.

Join for as little as $2 per month

Connect with and learn from others on a member-exclusive platform. Ask questions and find help with projects, share trusted resources, request and attend workshops, and learn from others’ experiences to catalyze your work.

Become a Member

Follow Us

You’re not alone in caring.
There is a wave of goodness and progress well underway, all around the world.

Want more articles like this one?
You're in luck! 

Discover real-life stories of innovators, change-makers, and problem-solvers.

Enjoy 30-days of unlimited access to hundreds of articles and podcasts when you subscribe to our weekly newsletter!

Name
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Want more articles like this one? You're in luck! 

Discover real-life stories of innovators, change-makers, and problem-solvers.

Enjoy 30-days of unlimited access to hundreds of articles and podcasts when you subscribe to our weekly newsletter!

Name
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.