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Erika oil spill[edit]

However, after the Erika oil spill off the coast of France in 1999, the common starfish Asterias rubens was found to have increased its production of detoxification enzymes and two months later, starfish growth, reproductive activity, larval development and energy storage were not significantly altered from their pre-event levels.[1]

I removed this statement. First the study in question very clearly states, The substance released was not a true crude oil. Second, the juxtaposition of this content in the "Threats" section is very misleading, as the study does not say or imply that Starfish are immune to oil spills. It says that there was an enhanced immunological response that "suggest" rapid decontamination, which "could explain why starfish growth, level of motile activity, reproductive investment, energy storage, and larval development were not significantly affected by these contaminants." That's an entirely different study and statement than the one that was placed in this section. In other words, the study is about the effects of the oil spill on the growth and reproductive cycle of the Common Starfish. Its placement in the threats sections after the statement, "oil spills and similar events often take a toll on echinoderm populations that carry far-reaching consequences for the ecosystem" does not negate or change that fact, as the study itself says "mass mortalities of the starfish species Asterias rubens and Marthasterias glacialis were observed on the highly polluted shore of the Croisic headland (Loire Atlantique) a few days after the spill" and "contaminated sediments from the North Sea were proven to have deleterious effects on embryo development of this species" which "suggests that pollution could also have an impact on the demographic parameters of the species". The study then proceeded to look at this problem, concluding that there was "no significant long-term effects of the Erika oil spill on A. rubens dynamics." Nevertheless, oil spills are still considered a threat to the species, regardless of the outcome of one study looking at the Erika oil spill, which contains many unknowns. Finally, the study itself cites a dozen or so previous studies which discuss the threat of oil spills to starfish. Viriditas (talk) 08:32, 31 October 2012 (UTC)

Plan for FA[edit]

There are some ideas for preparing this article for FAC.

  • Should probably add more information on evolution. Maybe we could use this, [this and/or this for resources.
  • The "threats" section should be expanded, we probably should add information on conservation issues (I've heard that starfish are often considered pests) and ecological effects (positive and negative). I found this paper which documents the negative effects of some species on coral reefs. LittleJerry (talk) 02:31, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Maybe not a big deal but perhaps we should look into cultural depictions of starfish (besides Patrick Star).
Yes, I think it needs a "culture" section. Chiswick Chap would be good at that! Cwmhiraeth (talk) 05:02, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
OK, I'll see if I can find anything. Chiswick Chap (talk) 05:37, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

Any other suggestions? LittleJerry (talk) 02:31, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

I propose to improve the "internal anatomy" section as I now have access to better sources. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 05:02, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
I just ordered "Starfish: Biology and Ecology of the Asteroidea". Should be a great resource. LittleJerry (talk) 18:53, 9 May 2013 (UTC)
I'll jump once I get it. LittleJerry (talk) 01:15, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
I've done a little palaeontology - how much should there be? (As with culture, there isn't much for this group, it seems.)
Haeckel's drawing is in, but we haven't mentioned he wanted to use the Echinoderms and their larvae for his recapitulation theory (dropped it as hard to get reliable supply). Alas not specific to Starfish so unsure whether to mention. Similarly for neoteny relationship to chordates.
What else needs doing? Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:22, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
I'll join when I get my copy of "Starfish: Biology and Ecology of the Asteroidea". LittleJerry (talk) 16:10, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Chap, would you be able to find information on starfish in mythology? LittleJerry (talk) 18:48, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
I'll see what I can locate (do you have anything particular in mind?). BTW I'm CC if you need a short form... Chiswick Chap (talk) 19:02, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
Try Greek, Roman, or Pacific Islander mythology. LittleJerry (talk) 19:11, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
Found an Australian one... no sign of Classical yet but will keep looking. Chiswick Chap (talk) 19:38, 12 May 2013 (UTC)
I've entirely failed to find Classical sources; Stella Maris and Asterias seem to be exclusively astronomical, with the Virgin Mary mixed in. I did manage to find a Polynesian source; will give up at this point unless I stumble on something really interesting. Chiswick Chap (talk) 10:47, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
Okay then, don't forget to put in Patrick Star. LittleJerry (talk) 17:44, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
Oh, I thought you were kidding me! Chiswick Chap (talk) 18:54, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
Just got my book. Will do some work on evolution and ecology tomorrow night. LittleJerry (talk) 23:29, 15 May 2013 (UTC)
Good! I have added a nice image of tube feet and eyespot but I think it would look better if it was turned upside down. What do others think? Cwmhiraeth (talk) 19:34, 16 May 2013 (UTC)
Doesn't matter to me. LittleJerry (talk) 22:50, 17 May 2013 (UTC)
Having looked at two current FA articles on invertebrates Ant and Bivalvia, I guess we don't need a conservation section. That seems to be more suited for megafauna. Anyway I change the title of the "In culture" section to "Human relations" since the latter is broader. There's a photo on Wikicommons of starfish as food, maybe one of you can find some info on human consumption of starfish. The lead paragraph mentions that starfish are used frequently in developmental biology. Any more information on that? Meanwhile, I'll continue to work on the ecology section and later the taxonomy/evolution section. LittleJerry (talk) 22:50, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I've added an "As food" section - evidence for it is hard to come by, perhaps because evidence of toxicity is plentiful. It seems that traditional recipes boil slowly to dissolve toxins, discard the outside (body wall full of ossicles and toxins) and eat what's left, presumably gonads and maybe other organs. Would be grateful if the section could be reviewed.... Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:13, 18 May 2013 (UTC)

Suggestions for formatting etc[edit]

I suggest we adopt the following conventions, not because they are better, but because they are what are used in the article at the moment and we should aim for uniformity:

  • Starfish rather than seastar; arms rather than rays; tube feet rather than podia - I don't object to these being changed if anyone else feels strongly about them, they just need to be used in a uniform way.
  • Names of authors as in "Dorit, R. L.; Walker, W. F.; Barnes, R. D."
  • Access dates and other dates as in "2012-10-18" Cwmhiraeth (talk) 13:01, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

I agree. LittleJerry (talk) 18:51, 9 May 2013 (UTC)

Sure. And are the two To Do lists (above) up to date, and if so, are (any parts of) them part of our plans? Chiswick Chap (talk) 05:24, 10 May 2013 (UTC)
No they're for the respective projects, not this article. LittleJerry (talk) 17:54, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

Move section[edit]

Would it be a good idea to move the taxonomy/phylogeny to the end, as it is relatively technical, and maybe more importantly it makes use of definitions of terms (like pedicellariae) that at the moment happen after the section? Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:37, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

That sounds like a good idea to me. I am creating various short articles as we go. I have just done Paxilla and a stub for rhe fossil in our image Riedaster reicheli and I plan to do Ossicle (echinoderm) later today as the current ossicle just leads to an article on the middle ear. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 09:55, 11 May 2013 (UTC)
Super. I was a bit worried about ossicles sounding passive like bones, when the pedi-unspellable-ariaeaeaaeiaae seem to be active structures with muscles or maybe it's hydraulics like the tube-feet. Will move the section now. Chiswick Chap (talk) 10:56, 11 May 2013 (UTC)

Things needing doing[edit]

I think the things we have been improving and adding since we started working on the article are looking quite good. Some of what was there previously is a bit weak and repetitious. Here are my views, having just read the article through:

  • The lead section needs improvement.
  • Remove duplication. The appearance section for example mentions things that are more fully developed in other sections.
The Appearance section is perhaps entirely redundant to the new anatomy/physiology sections, and to Diversity. Maybe some sentences can be saved (moved to relevant sections). Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:52, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
I think it could be dismantled paragraph by paragraph, possibly using some parts elsewhere. Do you want to do it?

Cwmhiraeth (talk) 19:01, 20 May 2013 (UTC)

OK, done the merge, leaving a short bit on Symmetry (could extend or move?). Chiswick Chap (talk) 19:15, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Ditto the opening remarks in the Anatomy section.
Done. LittleJerry (talk) 00:13, 25 May 2013 (UTC)
  • I doubt we need the single opening sentence in the Life cycle section.
  • Larval development seems a bit unordered. I should be able to improve it with my "Invertebrate Zoology".
I have introduced a couple of red links into "Sexual reproduction" section but intend to write articles for these species. I am working on the "Larval development" section in my sandbox. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 10:25, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Improving the images.
  • I think the Ecological impact section is looking good.
  • The Diversity section needs attention. I remember I found it very difficult to do when I worked on this article for GA but I have better sources now.
  • I like the human relations section.
  • Copyediting to tidy up the prose.
  • Making sure all the references are in the proper format (and from reliable sources).
  • Polishing to improve the copyediting! Cwmhiraeth (talk) 18:42, 19 May 2013 (UTC)
  • Not sure about the starfish drawing (artistic qualities?) in human relations (or its caption), what does it add? Could be OR, too. Opinions? Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:49, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
I don't think it adds much. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 19:01, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
OK, have removed it, maybe we can find something prettier. I've added a cropped and rearranged selection of 3 larvae from the Haeckel plate - I think you'll agree it's altogether less confusing than Haeckel's original (didn't he always put aesthetics above intelligibility?). I've put it in the repro section, we might need to add some more text about larvae/embryological development through stages. Chiswick Chap (talk) 19:15, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm pretty much done expanding on the ecology section. I'll work on evolution and taxonomy next. In the meantime, is there any information on starfish as souvenirs? LittleJerry (talk) 21:14, 20 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm gonna focus on Smilodon for GA but I'll be back. LittleJerry (talk) 20:08, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
There's no rush. It suits me not to do anything with this till June. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 06:14, 23 May 2013 (UTC)


On the ecology, we have here a group of animals that are a) slow-moving b) conspicuous c) toxic (saponins ...). Animals like that include toads, poison dart frogs, monarch caterpillars ... they're aposematic. Can we find a book or paper that says as much? Chiswick Chap (talk) 06:10, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

  • Shedd: Crown of Thorns Sea Star might just be usable
  • Seems to be "untested because few predators eat starfish" - um, could be because they're toxic and aposematic.

What about this? LittleJerry (talk) 15:43, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Well, it says they're slow, and colourful, and poisonous ... but doesn't draw the obvious conclusion! Nice book though, and lovely it's available to read online. Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:02, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

More recent phylogeny trees[edit]

The Lawrence book lists three recent starfish phylogenies sourced to

  • Gale A.S. 2011. The upper Oxfordian (Jurassic) asteroid fauna of Savigna, Jura, France. Swiss Journal of Palaeontology 130, 69-89
  • Mah, Christopher Foltz, David. 2011. Molecular phylogeny of the Valvatacea (Asteroidea: Echinodermata) Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 161(4): 769-788./Mah, C. & D. Foltz. (2011). Molecular Phylogeny of the Forcipulatacea (Asteroidea: Echinodermata): systematics and biogeography. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 162(3): 646-660 {maybe same tree)
  • Janies DA, Voight JR, Daly M. 2011. Echinoderm phylogeny including Xyloplax, a progenetic asteroid. Syst Biol. 2011 Jul;60(4):420-38.

I think we should get access to these papers (via Wikipedia resource exchange) and add in these new trees. I'm not good at making cladograms. LittleJerry (talk) 19:32, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

Possibly. I can do cladograms given the info but don't have access to such recent papers on JSTOR. Ideally we'd have just one cladogram - IF the phylo-dispute has calmed down. If not, the existing trees are (deliberately) chosen to show the divergence of views, which the ref cited says was made WORSE by later research. Anyway, if someone passes me the info I can do the diagram. Chiswick Chap (talk) 19:44, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
You can request the papers here. LittleJerry (talk) 20:13, 21 May 2013 (UTC)
What an efficient request system that is. The papers were difficult to reconcile, but I've managed to draw up a tree based on the Janies paper. It turns out that the 2 "old" cladograms I drew are rather useful in showing how thought has moved on, and hinting at why the task has been difficult (not only for me but on a large scale). I therefore suggest we leave them in place. Chiswick Chap (talk) 09:33, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
Good job. LittleJerry (talk) 00:28, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

What next?[edit]

I have done some work on the Taxonomy and Evolutionary history sections and tweaked the lead, and I think it is about ready. Are we planning to put the article up for peer review so as to get some useful outside opinions? Does it need further copyediting? Or are we going straight to FA? Cwmhiraeth (talk) 10:22, 31 May 2013 (UTC)

I feel we've done what we can; maybe the lead should touch on Evol history and Human relations too. Peer review might be a sensible step; but you know more of the process than I do. Chiswick Chap (talk) 12:41, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
I think to be safe we have it peer reviewed. If its alright with you guys I'll submit it and ask Axl to review. LittleJerry (talk) 16:20, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
Also, I'll probably add in info on starfish as souvenirs. LittleJerry (talk) 16:37, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
Sounds good. I'll have another go at the lead as per Chiswick Chap. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 19:00, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
Okay. Now I think its comprehensive enough. Let me know when you're ready for PR. LittleJerry (talk) 21:41, 31 May 2013 (UTC)
Almost ... does the sentence on stiff or floppy, etc, at end of lead refer to 'In culture' or in life? Maybe remove or redo. Then I think we're ready. Chiswick Chap (talk) 07:28, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
I've removed it! Cwmhiraeth (talk) 08:19, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
OK --- LittleJerry, over to you. Chiswick Chap (talk) 08:34, 1 June 2013 (UTC)
Done. LittleJerry (talk) 13:40, 1 June 2013 (UTC)

BBC video suitable?[edit]

Is this video Life - Timelapse of swarming monster worms and sea stars - BBC One suitable for inclusion as an external link? Seems to illuminate the subject, and there are no copyright issues (it's on the BBC's own YouTube channel).--A bit iffy (talk) 20:10, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

Its a fascinating video! Cwmhiraeth (talk) 09:07, 26 July 2013 (UTC)


I would've liked to read more about the toxicity of starfish. While it is mentioned in the article, it's not addressed more deeply. What species are toxic, types of poisons, symptoms that poisoning causes. (talk) 02:18, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

I think the main reason why the article doesn't go in depth about starfish toxicity is because comparatively few starfish species are toxic, and that poisonous starfish vary in their toxicity, as well as being poisonous for different reasons, i.e., some have venomous pedicellarie, others acquire toxic compounds from the environment, or even have noxious bacteria that cause food poisoning in whatever eats it, etc.--Mr Fink (talk) 02:23, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

File:Asterias.svg to appear as POTD[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Asterias.svg will be appearing as picture of the day on December 15, 2013. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2013-12-15. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page. Thanks! — Crisco 1492 (talk) 02:59, 29 November 2013 (UTC)

Picture of the day
Starfish diagram
A diagram showing an aboral view of a partially dissected starfish
  1. Pyloric stomach
  2. Intestine and anus
  3. Rectal sac
  4. Stone canal
  5. Madreporite
  6. Pyloric caecum
  7. Digestive glands
  8. Cardiac stomach
  9. Gonad
  10. Radial canal
  11. Ambulacral ridge

Diagram: Hans Hillewaert
ArchiveMore featured pictures...

Starfish wasting disease[edit]

Seems odd that there would be no mention of this,, it's been in the news quite a bit lately... (talk) 01:29, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

I have added some information on this to the article and a link to Starfish wasting disease. Cwmhiraeth (talk) 11:25, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
    • ^ Joly-Turquin, G.; Dubois, P.; Coteur, G.; Danis, B.; Leyzour, S.; Le Menach, K.; Budzinski, H.; Guillou, M. (2009). "Effects of the Erika oil spill on the common starfish Asterias rubens, evaluated by field and laboratory studies". Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology 26 (2): 209–220. PMID 18458993.