26 February 2012
We have two arms and look at the mischief we get into! Just imagine you had 24 arms! Unlikely? Not so! One of the most vicious monsters of the sea has 24 arms, and it makes life terrifying for other sea creatures. And its range is quite extensive! Its name sounds so benign: Sunflower Star. But watch out for the monster of the sea!
This monster prowls the ocean floor from the Aleutian Islands to Southern California. It is a terror to even relatively large bottom dwellers. It eats many things, including hermit crabs, clams, sea cucumbers, sea urchins and even abalone. Yet this monster goes by the seemingly innocent name of the Sunflower Star.
The Sunflower Star begins life as a microscopic larva, much like other sea stars. But as it grows, it surpasses anything that other sea stars can achieve. Its five arms become more arms as it grows until it finally has 24 arms. By this time it can be 39 inches across. But its size does not limit its speed.
It uses 15,000 tube feet to move over 5 feet per minute. This is possible because, like other sea stars, the Sunflower Star's skeleton is made up of just a few pieces of skeletal mesh, making it more flexible.
It is such a terror to other creatures that when they sense its approach they flee at surprising speed. Even the Northern Abalone, which normally moves sluggishly, flees in the hope that the Sunflower Star will not capture it.
The Bible urges vigilance on our part because our spiritual enemy is a monster who seeks to entrap us in sin. We can be thankful that Jesus Christ has provided both deliverance and protection from this monster.
Wow! Are we ever fortunate!
Notes: Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria, British Columbia