Thursday, November 12, 2009

A marine creature close to extinction in the waters of Tanjung Rhu, Langkawi

This is awesome! This was found on the beach of Tanjung Rhu yesterday! I got off the boat and spotted  this starfish in the water.

So, I picked it up to have a closer look.   
                                    


It had six long legs and two shorter ones.

Check out the size.

Below picture is showing the underside of the starfish. Notice the tube feet.
                                     
Here's a closer look at the tube feet. Check out the pointed tip. It was a poking feeling when I was holding it.                              
                                     
Not knowing much about starfish or sea stars, I did some search via the world wide web and found that it is very likely to be a Eight-armed Sea Star (Luidia maculata), a family of Luidiidae. This Eight-armed Sea star that I picked up with two shorter legs would very likely be a juvenile or sub-adult.

According to the locals, Tanjung Rhu once had a abundance of corals and sea stars many years ago. Those were the days before the five-star resorts were developed on this beach. A large amount of sand were dredged from the sea and thus reducing the population of these precious sea creatures eventually.

What did I do with this creature in the end? I got back to the boat and instructed my skipper to take me to the middle of the ocean. I said bye and dropped it there. I hope I did the right thing.
Read more about this from: Wikipedia, Eight-armed sea star of Singapore

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