TRUE: Sea stars have an eye on the end of each arm. (Called an ocellus, it’s one of the simplest eyes in the animal kingdom and has no cornea or lens.)
TRUE: Sea stars have two stomachs. (Food begins in the cardiac stomach and moves to the pyloric stomach.)
FALSE: Sea stars have a water vascular system that filters toxins from the water.
While sea stars do have a water vascular system for movement, it does not filter water. The system consists of tons of tiny tube feet on their underside that suck up and force out water, creating enough hydraulic pressure for sea stars to move across the ground. Since there is no way to filter the water, they are extra vulnerable to water pollution; Think of sea stars next time you are choosing whether to use eco-friendly detergent for your laundry. For more tube feet awesomeness, watch the above video from the Seattle Aquarium.
Seahorses are not vegetarians; they eat by hooking their tail around objects on the seafloor and use their snouts to snack on tiny, live crustaceans that float by. A tail that grasps objects is called a prehensile tail. You can see how the seahorse may have evolved into its unusual shape in the video above (courtesy of Nature). Even cooler: Did you know males seahorses carry and birth the young?
Many people don’t realize seahorses face many threats in the wild. You can help conserve these animals by refusing to buy them–either live, for your aquarium, or dried as souvenirs.
TRUTH: The sea otter is a member of the weasel family.
TRUTH: Sea otters are the only otters that give birth in the water.
LIE: Sea otters stay warm in the water thanks to a thick layer of insulating fat.
Sea otters do not have a heavy layer of fat to keep them warm. That’s why their coats are so important—they keep their fur incredibly clean because if it gets dirty and matted down, it loses its insulation qualities. A clean coat can trap air, which provides four times the insulation of the same amount of fat. Sea otters were hunted to near extinction for their coats, and they’re just now starting to make a comeback. Remember, if you see a sea otter on land, leave it alone and ask other people not to disturb it. Always respect wildlife and keep a safe distance—no matter how cute it looks.