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Old 02-25-2007, 09:04 PM   #1
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Starfish voyeurism - added new baby pictures

Please be advised. The following contains graphic materials.

That's right starfish in love.

I was taking pictures of the tank tonight and came across my two harlequin stars doing the 5 tentacled lambada. They have done this before in the past and I actually have some offspring in the sump, so I guess we all know what they are doing.

Anyway, here is a few interesting pictures.

In this one you will see two holes near the arm sockets of the starfish in the rear. I am taking a wild guess here and saying that this might be the nether regions (aka the business end) of the starfish.


Here they are getting busy.



If there are any starfish experts out there, if I am off base on my guess in picture one, let me know what those holes are for.
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Old 02-25-2007, 09:39 PM   #2
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I'm not up to par on starfish reproduction. I know some species release eggs/sperm directly into the water column rather than having physical contact. If they are mating or did mate there is very little chance any of the offspring would survive. Tanks just don't have the food resources and the equipment, pumps etc., is very harsh on fry. The small stars your seeing are most likely smaller ophiuroidea stars. They stay relatively small, are common hitchhikers found on LR, and are able to reproduce in aquariums.
Cool pics!
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Old 02-25-2007, 10:17 PM   #3
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MT79,

If I get the chance to, I will take some photos of the babies in the sump and post them. These guys tend to hide in a very dense mat of macro algae, so I will have to either be patient for one to come out near the edge or go in search of one by mixing up the floating swamp.

In the past, I caught one of the babies with a turkey baster and let me tell you, he looked exactly like mommy and daddy. He had the very flexible arms of a serpent star and the green and white banding of his parents.

Also, ever since the first sighting of the offspring, I have noticed some growth in overall size (albeit quite slowly).
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Old 02-25-2007, 10:51 PM   #4
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These guys tend to hide in a very dense mat of macro algae
That is very common. They are more active at night. There is a pick of mini-stars in the bottom row, left side of this link for you to compare with. Click it and a pop-up window will show a close up w/ some info. The colors will vary some.
http://www.melevsreef.com/id/crawls.html
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Old 03-05-2007, 09:45 PM   #5
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Here are the pictures I promised.



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Old 03-05-2007, 10:07 PM   #6
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I like to think that they are little babies, and that your two are Mommy and Daddy, and that they are very much in love.

In any case, great pictures--
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Old 03-05-2007, 10:52 PM   #7
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Wow, that is incredible! Congrats.
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Old 03-05-2007, 11:35 PM   #8
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Aw, such cute little babies, and they look just like Mom and Dad!
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Old 03-06-2007, 01:47 AM   #9
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I still believe they are mini-stars and not "babies". A search for LR hitchhikers will provide plenty of pictures of various colored/shaped/textured mini-stars. Interesting none the less... How big is the largest "baby" you've seen? How long have you noticed them in the tank?
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Old 03-06-2007, 08:38 PM   #10
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I have had these stars for around three years. I moved them from a 90g corner to their current home. I noted mating behavior from time to time in the past; however, never noticed any small serpent stars in the original refugium (29g on the 90g corner) or in the 120g refugium on the 190g tank where they are now.

I keep a pretty good eye on the refugium as I have been considering it for a host of projects (seahorses, mandarin, shark, etc.) and I am watching pod populations. I have noticed these small stars only in the last month or so. Since I originally noticed them, I have seen a growth in size of about 2 to 3 times (one huge caveat is I have no way of telling if I am seeing the same ones again or not).

No recent additions with live rock in the last 6 months or so to this tank.
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