Trivia question for Jun-29-2011

Posted on Jun 29, 2011 in Trivia

Carter liked learning about these guys but never wants to encounter one.  Here is his trivia.  This is a large nocturnal invertebrate that preys upon coral polyps. They received its name from venomous thorn-like spines that cover its body.

These guys produce a neurotoxin which can be released through its spines. Not only are the wounds themselves serious, but the neurotoxin can cause a sharp stinging pain that can last for hours, as well as nausea and vomiting. Frequently, the area around the wound turns a dark blue and begins to swell, which may persist for weeks. The spine(s) themselves may break off and become embedded inside the skin. This can lead to infection, and increased toxicity.  Some divers reportedly kill these predators by injecting them with their own stomach acid into each of their many legs.

So here are Carter’s questions:  Tell us what this invertebrate is and where they can be found.  Also, tell us what preys upon these guys and how it catches and eats them?

Good Luck 😉


Congratulations to our friend Sandra Sallee from Cairo GA who was the first to get our trivia 100% correct. The starfish we featured is the Crown of Thorns Sea Star.

The crown-of-thorns starfish is a large nocturnal sea star that preys upon coral polyps. The crown-of-thorns receives its name from venomous thorn-like spines that cover its body. It is endemic to tropical coral reefs in the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean. As solitary animals, they feed alone and maintain constant distance between themselves and other members of their species.

The crown-of-thorns is the second largest sea star in the world. Only the sunflower starfish is larger. Venomous, sharp spines cover nearly the entire surface of the crown-of-thorns. These natural defenses make it a very unattractive target for most other reef predators. In spite of this, the Giant Triton (a mollusk) and the harlequin shrimp attack and feed on crown-of-thorns starfish. The Triton pins the sea star down with its foot and extends a long, file-like tongue to rasp off pieces to be eaten.  Some large reef fish, particularly humphead wrasse, may also prey on the starfish.

Here is more on these deadly starfish. Crown of Thorns Sea Star

Thanks for playing along 😉