Today: Tuesday, 26 October 2021 year

Science: Stunning starfish illuminates the dark Arctic

Science: Stunning starfish illuminates the dark Arctic

The stunning starfish was discovered in the Arctic by Danish scientists who were surprised by starfish’s illuminating glow in the darkest deepest waters. The deepest starfish was collected at 1.5 kilometres depth.

In a new study, scientists from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, described a newly-discovered starfish who is thought to use the light to find their way through the dark and to communicate.  These bioluminescent starfish showed another way to attract the potential partners.

Stunning starfish illuminates in the deep seas off Greenland, says Anders Garm, associate professor at the Department of Biology, UoC.

“It’s an advanced form of communication, which was previously unknown in animals like starfish,”

he explains and adds that traditionally, animals that live in complete darkness often lack sight and instead use other senses such as a sense of smell to navigate, not eyes. But three species of starfish have the eyes on their legs.

“It was really interesting for us that two of the species are bioluminescent and able to produce light. Suddenly the well-developed eyesight makes more sense,”

says Garm.

The Arctic starfish with eyes surprised the scientists

The starfish eyes were already thought to be fascinating, these species have eyes at the ends of their legs, which they use to navigate. According to the biologists, the starfish needs the light-sensitive eyes to collect the data from around. The starfish demonstrate that even relatively simple organisms can exhibit advanced behaviour.

“Communicating with the help of light is an advanced behaviour that we perhaps didn’t expect to find in animals with a relatively small nervous system. It says a lot about how evolution works. Even if you don’t have a big brain, evolution can still finds solutions, which mean you can exhibit advanced behaviour,”

Garm explained in his article published in the scientific journal, Proceedings of the Royal Society B.