The Predatory Behaviour of an Eleven-armed Star Fish

November 27, 2016 | Posted in: Marine invertebrates, Molluscs, Seastars

During our recent dive at Rapid Bay jetties, I recorded a large eleven-armed star fish attacking an abalone. I have to admit that I set the whole thing up though.

I was swimming along the side of the new jetty’s piles when I came across this abalone at the base of a jetty pile. It was attached to a small plate-like rock: –

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On the other side of the jetty pile was this eleven-armed star fish: –

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I evilly-decided to place the abalone in the path of the eleven-armed star fish to see what would happen between them both. Needless to say, the star fish quickly grabbed the abalone and I took these two photographs: –

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Quite a battle took place between the two and I turned the star fish upside down for this series of shots of the abalone in its grasp: –

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The abalone was spinning around within its shell in an attempt to escape the clutches of the star fish. My conscience then got the better of me and I removed the abalone from the grip of the star fish and placed it out of the star fish’s reach: –

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I took this shot of the empty underside of the star fish: –

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I then placed the plate-like rock on the underside of the star fish, just to slow its progress down a little whilst the abalone made its escape: –

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The abalone took off at great speed: –

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The star fish seemed to be hell-bent on pursuit: –

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I left the scene of the battle at this point. It had been an interesting exercise for my camera & I.

Steve Reynolds is the current President of MLSSA and is a long-standing member of the Society. Steve is a keen diver, underwater explorer, photographer and is chief author of the Society’s extensive back catalogue of newsletters and journals.

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