• Strategy

Limb shedding assists escape: starfish


Common Starfish / Herbythyme / LicenseGFDL - Gnu Free Document License

The limbs of a starfish assist escape because they can be shed.

"Starfishes, which have hard spiny skeletons and five (or more) arms or limbs in a star-like arrangement, are also adept at autotomy when caught by predators. Their subsequent regeneration, however, can be particularly dramatic. As long as the shed limb is not devoured by the predator and still contains a section of the central body disc of the starfish that shed it, this limb has the ability to regenerate into a complete starfish." (Shuker 2001:132)
About the inspiring organism

Learn more at EOL.org
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Materials or systems that can "shed" some function under stress, possibly as a signal of deterioration, while retaining basic functionality; shedding materials once they have served their purpose; understanding the biochemistry of regeneration.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Materials science, construction, medical

Marine Biology Laboratory
Michel Jangoux Patrick Flammang (adhesion) Edwin Lamarque (regeneration)
University of Mons-Hainaut
Shuker, KPN. 2001. The Hidden Powers of Animals: Uncovering the Secrets of Nature. London: Marshall Editions Ltd. 240 p.
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