Like all marine animals, starfish are an organism found in the sea for a simple reason: They do not breathe Air. Although this is something very logical, some people captivated by their beauty take them out of the water without thinking about the damage they cause them.
Maybe you’ve heard someone say that if you take a starfish out of the water, you die immediately, in 1 minute, in 5 minutes, etc. The truth is not something that happens exactly in 1 minute, but if you take them out and put them in several times even for less than 30 seconds you also die, and then we explain why and what you can do to protect them.
Starfish die asphyxiated
The scientific explanation, starfish have on the body surface papules also called dermal gills (see photo below) which are used for the exchange of gases, each papule thin walls is an extension of the celoma, so the gases are automatically exchanged between the celomic liquid and the water.
In simple words this means that sea stars capture oxygen from the water for their breathing process through these dermal gills and when these species are removed from their aquatic habitat they cannot exchange gases for their life cycles, for what they suffer from intoxication, usually with carbon dioxide or monoxide and in a relatively short time they die , that is, they “choke”, it takes about 3 to 5 minutes depending on the specimen.
In humans, this activity would be equivalent to filling the lungs with water for a few minutes to take a funny picture. You dare? Who volunteers? Do not worry, every 5 minutes we empty your lungs for a few seconds so that it does not die and then fill them again for the next photo session.
Starfish die from stress
Even without taking them out of the water a lot, the constant handling, taking them out and putting them many times , stacking them, putting them together or placing them on top of each other as if they were a toy for our creativity, are conditions outside the way of life of these animals , which can easily cause them death.
Can you imagine a photoshoot underwater, and they tell you that every so often you have to dive, hold your breath and in the process do not let you rest?
On 2 occasions I have participated in scientific studies of starfish, where Biologists, take them out only once for a few seconds to photograph and measure them, take them very carefully and even wear gloves, so that the pH of our body or products To protect our skin from the sun, do not harm them.
The fact that they are hard and have those thorns does not mean that they are all-terrain, taking them out 1 time will not kill them, but one person takes them out, then the other wants to see them, that if the child wants to touch them, the one who I was beyond too, the other is curious, etc. Thus, one after another, the poor little animal is suffering.
Starfish victims of Fame
Those photos that people take with the starfish, whether simple or elaborate (like the previous photo) promote the wrong behavior by tourists and in some cases, even tourism companies where they are more willing to make money than to Respect wildlife encourages this behavior.
What they actually do is promote a show that spreads a message contrary to what it should be, teaching how to do what you really shouldn’t do.
Examples of what NOT to do with starfish.
DO NOT take Starfish out of the Water
How to help protect them:
- Starfish are observed from outside the water or from inside with Snorkel, without taking them out.
- And if you didn’t know it and you already did, we thank you for not divulging your photos on the Internet and when you show it to your friends or family, always let them know that it is not the right thing to do. You did it without knowing, but it is time that nobody else does.
- When you see someone doing this, don’t be cruel and ruthless, they may not know what they are doing. Kindly transmit this information so they don’t do it anymore.
- Share this information with friends and acquaintances. The more people they know, the faster we will stop practicing these bad habits that damage this natural treasure of our beaches.
Source: entorno vivo ac
The Mazatlan Post