Up above the world so high, like shimmering diamonds in the sky, are billions and billions of stars that light up our nights. Below the surface of the ocean, however, is a different kind of star, and unlike the stars in the sky, we get to see these ones up close on our snorkelling tours. They are called ‘Starfish’ and we’re lucky enough to have many different species living around our little island just off the Gold Coast/Tweed Heads, NSW.
Starfish belong to the echinoderm family which includes sea urchins and sea cucumbers, but arguably Starfish are the prettiest of these sea-floor dwelling creatures. They come in many different sizes, shapes and wonderful colours, but usually consist of five arms attached to their central disc body, helping them to get up to all sorts of mischief as they slowly make their way across the sea floor.
These majestic creatures may be slow moving – using millions of little tube-like feet under their upper body to help them get around – but they’ve got a trick or two up their sleeves! The most impressive being their ability to regrow limbs. It’s their best defensive mechanism against predators, allowing them to lose or shed an arm in a fight and regrow a new one within a few months or years, exactly as it was before!
What’s more – did you know that Starfish actually have eyes!?! Yes eyes, and not just two like us but eyes at the end of each arm! To be fair, they can’t actually see very much but they can tell the difference between light and dark which is useful enough when you’re a starfish.
These fascinating creatures are always a highlight for guests that come out with us each day, delivering smiles with their bright colours and fascinating textures. There may not be billions of them in the ocean like the stars in the sky but you may be surprised just how many you do see on a tour with us.