Friday 30 March 2012

Snake Star

Image: NOAA Photo Library
So obscenely wrong it's deliciously right!

These weird, grotesque tentacles of flesh (that one can imagine writhing and throbbing with repulsive delight) are rather uppity Brittle Stars.

There's one from shallow waters called the Grasping Snake Star which wraps itself around corals to feed on polyp snot... I mean protein rich mucus produced by the polyps. I can only assume they have to finish it all up before they can get their ice cream. And I dread to think what their favourite flavour is.

Image: NOAA Photo Library
There are more of these things in the deep sea. I have no idea if they are all related, but just look at them! It's disgusting! Like horrible worms and millipedes invading the delicate corals with their flabby bodies.

Image: NOAA Photo Library
Here's one on a Bubblegum Coral. It looks like it should be squirming through the mud, but this is a Brittle Star who refuses to be kept down. Such pride! Such audacity! I'm inspired! Be the change you want to see!

Image: Simon Coppard
This is Asteroporpa Annulata and I know it doesn't eat polyp snot. It climbs up corals to get into the current and feed on the drifting food the coral would otherwise be eating.

It has amazing arms that disappear into tendrils so flexible they could tie themselves in knots. You know how wires ALWAYS become knotted up no matter what you do with them? Surely we should study Snake Stars to see how they avoid the problem!

Image: Simon Coppard
A close look at an arm reveals bands of hooks.

Image: Simon Coppard
And a close look at a hook reveals something like a Klingon hand weapon.

Image: NOAA Photo Library
I don't know for sure if it's hooks like that which allow this one to blight this beautiful Sea Fan, but it's a glorious thing however they're doing it!


TexWisGirl said...


Joseph JG said...

I know. I sort of love them in a way, though!