Friday, August 21, 2009

Star gazing

It was time for a change so I have switched my header out to a photo I took while snorkeling at Green Turtle Key in the Bahamas two years ago. Marvelous little reef area just a few steps from our hotel room.

The water was crystal clear and you could see hundreds of these Bahamian Sea Stars and sea urchins laying on the sand beds. This particular sea star was slowly moving towards the sea urchin to make it a meal. Sea Stars are not really fish, they are an echinoderm (from the Greek, meaning spiney skin) and it is related to the sand dollar. They exist exclusively in the sea and cannot be found in fresh water or on land. Most sea stars, like the Bahamian Sea Star, (also known as the Cushion Star) have five arms and can live up to 35 years, although I have seen them with 6 arms and one with 4 that looked like a cross. They are an aggressive predator under the sea, hunting mollusks and other echinoderms. Sea Stars turn their stomachs inside out to eat, which it wraps completely around its prey, until the prey is digested.

I am always amazed at the size of these creatures and although the photo does not show scale, the sea urchin is the size of a large grapefruit and the sea star was over 12 inches in diameter. I spent all afternoon snorkeling and looking at the hundreds of sea stars, sea urchins and little fish that lived there. This little guy kept popping in and out of this burrow to say hello.

Have a terrific weekend everyone and enjoy each other's company. Sea Witch


svelteSTUFF said...

WONDERFUL photos!! Thanks for sharing!

FrenchBlue said...

I love your new header! Especially that it is underwater~ Thanks for the peaceful swim here! Have a good weekend too!

seanymph said...

Love this header. It goes much better with the rest of the blog design. How wonderful your able to see these. I cant swim! (pretty bad thing for a mermaid, huh? lol)

Ana said...

I love your new header. The picture is amazing.
And I love that I learn something new about sea stars. Beautiful creatures aren't they. Thanks for sharing. Have an awesome weekend.

♥Ana~A Petite Cottage

misselaineous said...

loved the new header yesterday...had no idea those are your original pics...beautiful! what beautiful places we have on this planet, eh? have a great weekend...stay out of the Atlantic..."big bad billie" will be huffin & puffin all up the coast! Joe & i will venture to the beach, maybe Sunday...the big waves have been known to bring in all kinds of treasure, and the logger heads are beginning to hatch. One more day of work, an i'm free to play! :o} *elaine*

Kathleen said...

Oh snoorkling sounds so adventurous and romantic. And what beautiful creatures. I am so jealous....Thank you for the great pics! Hugs, Kathleen

Luna und Luzie said...

I love the new header too.
These photos are so beautiful.The seastar looks wonderful and the first photo says all about holiday feeling!!!You are very lucky....but I know you are kind to share it.
Thanks for that!!!

Jacque said...

I wish I wasn't afraid of the ocean waters!! I should have never watched JAWS..I can only imagine all the great things you can see in the depths of it's water. You have some fabulous pictures.

Mermaids of the Lake said...

My first visit here. Very fun. Beautiful post!

Mermaid Debbie

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Such a pretty location and header!

I am in South Dakota tonight!We flew to Denver,Co to see our grandson and then drove up to Rapid City. We'll see Mount Rushmore tomorrow.