One predator can destroy 42% of a certain species in a certain location. How does that sound? Terrible enough? Well, that is the story of corals in Great Barrier Reef – the prey of the Crown of Thorns Starfish. Sounds weird but yes, today, Great Barrier Reef is threatened to a great extent by these voracious coral eaters. In this article, we are going to learn some surprising Crown of Thorns Starfish facts and find what these animals do, where they live and how they look.
Before we start…
|Name||Crown of Thorn Starfish (usually referred to as COTS)|
Okay, now that we have a basic info piled up in a table, we can move on with out Crown of Thorns Starfish facts list. Be ready to be surprised!
Surprising Crown of Thorns Starfish Facts: 1-5
1. If there is any animal in this world that eats seemingly lifeless, stony and hard coral polyps, it is none other than the Crown of Thorns Starfish.
2. This starfish is massive and in fact, it is one of the most massive starfish in world. Just how big? Well, they can have a diameter of 3 feet! However, they can be as small as only 9 inches in diameter.
3. This starfish can have up to 23 arms! Yes, you read it right. They can have 23 arms each. However, the minimum number of arms that COTS can have is 7.
4. Why such weird name? Well, why don’t you take a look at the creature? This starfish is covered on its upper body surface with thorns or spines which grow up to 2 inches in length.
5. These spines or thorns are really bad. They can not only pierce through the wet suit and give a nasty puncture wound but also laced with venom, which can cause vomiting, nausea and severe pain.
Surprising Crown of Thorns Starfish Facts: 6-10
6. Crown of Thorns Starfish look like the proverbial and Biblical ‘Crown of Thorns’. That explains why the name was give to this creature in the first place.
7. Scientists have studied the fossils of COTS and have come to understand that these creatures have been residing in Earth’s oceans for several million years now.
8. Crown of Thorns Starfish outbreaks or infestation occurs at times and that’s not a good thing because when the infestation occurs, its usually bad news for coral reefs across the globe provided the outbreaks are taking place in quick intervals.
9. COTS outbreaks have taken place a number of times but the first one that was recorded was in 1950s in Ryukyu Islands, Japan. In 1962, Green Island, Australia, recorded the first COTS outbreak in Australia.
10. While it is a known fact that COTS outbreaks are not good for coral reefs, it is also true that when coral reefs become unhealthy and lose balance, such outbreaks are good.