Brace yourselves, gentle readers, for something truly surreal. Not as in The Twilight Zone or The Walking Dead surreal, more like Spongebob Squarepants meets National Geographic. It might work if you can imagine Spongebob's half-witted buddy Patrick, the starfish with the knee-length swim trunks, who's able to walk on two of his five legs like a typical human.
Well, there's this video of a real starfish that apparently got stranded on the beach after being swept ashore by the waves. And the method it uses to make its way back to the ocean is hardly the same mode of mobility as the animated character. It was so unusual, the video posted on Instagram received nearly three million views within five days.
Yep, for sure, this one's weird. In fact, this starfish doesn't really propel itself by its five legs. Rather, it has hundreds of hair-like cilia, also called tube feet, which extend outwards from the urchin's underside to move the starfish from point A to point B. Normally, the starfish would use its tube feet to crawl on the ocean floor for food. It's especially fond of shellfish, namely clams and scallops, and uses the same celia to pry their prey open.
But in this case, the stranded starfish used its cilia to try and get back home. And it's apparent that it could have benefited more from the ocean's buoyancy to make its round trip less arduous. It's slow going for the hapless starfish.
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While many of the viewers may have been amused over the starfish's predicament, it's likely that it could have faced certain death without its maneuverability. Starfish don't have blood and rely on seawater for their vascular system, which also takes on hydraulic properties to get those cilia activated.
The video captured indicates that the starfish appears to be a bit confused over navigating its way back to the water. The urchin's eyes, located at the tips of its arms can detect movement and shadows but can see nothing clear enough to plot a direction.
What the video didn't indicate was whether the starfish made it back to the ocean solo, received some help from those who shot the images, or if it was washed back into the water. But in the meantime, it inadvertently provided an incredible show of will.
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