• Question: is it true that if a starfish's leg falls off it will grow back again? why?

    Asked by fiona to Rupert, Ellen, Carrie on 16 Mar 2017.
    • Photo: Ellen Williams

      Ellen Williams answered on 16 Mar 2017:

      Yes! I learned this during my undergraduate and it is one of the few things I have never forgotten, absolutely incredible! I presume it is an evolutionary adaptation to allow them to escape predators (in the same way lizards drop their tails)

    • Photo: Carrie Ijichi

      Carrie Ijichi answered on 17 Mar 2017:

      It is true and very cool. If a predator grabs their limb (where else would you grab on a starfish!) they can drop it and get away.It will slowly grow back over time. lizards and crabs can also do this but if you were to cut it off (which would be horrible) they get very stressed and probably die. They definitely don’t grow back so there’s a difference between the animal shedding them and having them removed