Feb 18, 2014 / 343 notes

Scientists discover that starfish eyes really can see things, at least a little…

So, starfish actually have eyes - they are located on each of their arms—but up until now we didn’t know if they could actually see out of them!! Exciting new research has indicated that the eyes of sea stars can actually vaguely see images. These images are thought to help prevent them from moving too far from their home. 

"These new findings are an important breakthrough in our understanding of how sea stars perceive the world" - Christopher Mah (researcher at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.) 

"After decades of wondering what starfish use their eyes for, scientists see some light"

A majority of sea stars have eyes on the ends of their arms. They are difficult to see and even if you do find them, you may not know that they are eyes. The starfish in the top image is an Indo-Pacific species called the blue star (Linckia laevigata). The image below (image two) is an up-close of one arm. There is a small groove along the bottom-side, which has many little tubular “feet”. The seastar uses these to move about. At the end is where the eye sits, just near the top of the groove (white arrow). 

Pretty amazing!

Photo credits: 

Image 1 - Blue starfish, Linckia laevigata, at Myrmidon Reef, Great Barrier Reef 

Image 2: Close up of star fish foot, white arrow points towards the end of the groove where the eye is located 

Info gathered from National Geographic 

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