Like all marine animals, starfishes are a body that found in the sea for a simple reason: They do not breath air. Although this is very logical, some people are captivated by their beauty without think about the damage that they could suffer.
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Maybe you heard someone say that if you take a starfish out of the water immediately dies in 1 minute, 5 minutes, etc. It is not something that happens exactly in 1 minute, but if you put and remove them for several times, even for less than 30 seconds, they could die. We explain you why and what you can do to protect them.
Starfishs died by asphyxia
According to a scientific explanation, a starfish has on the body surface papulas also called skin gills (See photo below) which are used for the exchange of gases, each papula of thin walls is an extension of celoma, so the gases are automatically exchanged between the coelomic fluid and water.
In simple terms this means that the starfish capture oxygen in the water for breathing process through these skin gills and when these species are removed from their aquatic habitat, they can not perform gas exchange for their life cycles, which they suffer poisoning of dioxide or carbon monoxide and they die in a short time, it means that they drown in 3 to 5 minutes depending on the specimen.
In humans this activity would be equivalent to fill the lungs with water for a few minutes in order to take a funny photo. Do you dare? Who is offered like a volunteer? Do not worry, every 5 minutes, we emptied the lungs for a few seconds to not die and then we fill you again for the next photo shoot.
Starfish die by Stress
Even without taking them out of the water, a constant handling, remove and put them many times, pile them on, join them or place them on top of each other as if they were a toy for our creativity. These examples are strange conditions to the way of life of starfishes, which can easily cause death.
Can you imagine a photo shoot underwater in which someone told you that every time you have to immerse, hold your breath and you will not let you rest?
On 2 occasions I have participated in scientific studies of starfish, where Biologists just take them out for only a few seconds to photograph and measure them, They take them very carefully and use gloves in order to protect them of the pH of our body or sunscreen.
The fact that they have a spiny skin does not mean they are all terrain, you can get them once it is not going to kill, but if you show it a person, then this wants to see it , if he or she has a child who wants to play, the other friend feels curious, etc. and so, one after another the poor animal is suffering.
Starfish victims of Fame
Those photos that people take with a starfish, whether simple or elaborate (as above photo) promote a mistake behavior by tourists and in some cases tourism enterprises are more concerned in making money than encourage people to respect wildlife.
What they actually do is promote a show that broadcasts a contrary message to what should be, they taught us to do what we really should not to be do.
Examples of what NOT TO DO with the starfish.
PLEASE DO NOT take starfish out of Water!
How can you help to protect them:
- Starfish are observed from outside or from inside with Snorkel, without removing them.
- And if you did not know and you did, We thankful to not divulge your photos online and Let your friends or family that this kind of behavior is not correct. You did it because you do not know, but it is time that nobody else keep it doing.
- When you see someone doing this, do not be cruel and ruthless, maybe they do not know what they do. Kindly transmit this information to they do not do more
- Share this information with friends and acquaintances. The more people know, the faster we will stop practicing these bad habits that damage this natural treasure of our beaches.