starfish

Definitions

  • A GARDEN UNDER WATER Starfishes, Crabs and Sea-anemones
    A GARDEN UNDER WATER Starfishes, Crabs and Sea-anemones
  • WordNet 3.6
    • n starfish echinoderms characterized by five arms extending from a central disk
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Group showing a starfish attacking an oyster; soft shelled clams; hermit crabs; fiddler crabs, etc Group showing a starfish attacking an oyster; soft shelled clams; hermit crabs; fiddler crabs, etc
Dissection of a starfish Dissection of a starfish
Cross-section of the ray of a starfish Cross-section of the ray of a starfish

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: A starfish can turn its stomach inside out
    • Starfish (Zoöl) Any one of numerous species of echinoderms belonging to the class Asterioidea, in which the body is star-shaped and usually has five rays, though the number of rays varies from five to forty or more. The rays are often long, but are sometimes so short as to appear only as angles to the disklike body. Called also sea star five-finger, and stellerid.
    • Starfish (Zoöl) The dollar fish, or butterfish.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Starfish have eight eyes, one at the end of each leg.
    • n starfish An echinoderm with five or more arms radiating from a central disk: applied to all the members of the Asteroidea and Ophiuroidea (see these words). These belong to the phylum Echinodermata, which contains also the sea-urchins, holothurians, crinoids, etc., though these are not usually called starfishes. In some of the asteroids or starfishes proper the disk is enlarged so as to take in nearly or quite the whole length of the rays, so that the resulting figure is a pentagon, or even a circle; but in such cases the stellate structure is evident on examination. Such are known as cushion-stars. In the ophiurians the reverse extreme occurs, the body being reduced to a small circular central disk, with extremely long slender rays, which in some, as the eury-aleans, are branched into several thousand ramifications. (See cut under basket-fish.) The commonest type of starfish has five rays; whence such are popularly known as five-fingered jack or fivefingers. (See cuts under Asterias and Echinaster.) Those with more than five rays are often called sun-starfish or sun-stars. (See Heliaster, and cuts under Brisinga and Solaster.) The skin of starfishes is tough and leathery, and usually indurated with calcareous plates, tubercles, spines, etc. It is so brittle that starfishes readily break to pieces, sometimes shivering like glass into many fragments. This fragility is at an extreme in the ophiurians, sometimes, on this account, called brittle-stars. (See cut under Astrophyton.) Lost arms are readily replaced by a new growth, if the body of the starfish is not broken. On the under side of the animal's rays may be observed rows of small holes; these are the ambulacra, through which protrude many small soft, fleshy processes—the pedicels, tube-feet, or ambulacral feet—by means of which the creatures crawl about. The ambulacra converge to a central point on the under side, where is the oral opening or mouth. The animals are extremely voracious, and do great damage to oyster-beds. They abound in all seas at various depths, and some of them are familiar objects on every sea-coast. Some of the free crinoids of stellate figure are included under the name starfishes, though they are usually called lily-stars or feather-stars. Encrinites are fossil starfishes of this kind. (See cuts under Comatulidæ and encrinite.) Very different as are the appearances superficially presented by a starfish, a sea-urchin, a holothurian, and a crinoid, their fundamental unity of structure may be easily shown. If, for instance, a common five-fingered jack should have its arms bent up over its back till they came to a center opposite the mouth, and then soldered together in that position by plates filling the spaces between the arms, it would make the globular or oblate spheroid figure of a sea-urchin. If a starfish should turn over on its back, and have a stem grow from the center, and then have its arms come together like the petals of a lily, it would represent a crinoid. If, again, the starfish should have its arms reduced to mere rudiments, or to tentacular appendages of an elongated leathery body, it would represent a holothurian, sea-slug, or trepang. These are the principal types of echinoderms—in fact less unlike one another than are the several stages they uudergo in development, for which see Asteroidea, Bipinnaria, Brachiolaria, echinopædium, and pluteus.
    • n starfish The butter-fish or dollar-fish.
    • n starfish In heraldry, a bearing representing a five-pointed star, the rays surrounded by short waving flames or the like, and having a small circle in the center.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Starfish have no brains.
    • Starfish (Asteroidea) an Echinoderm, nearly allied to the Brittle-stars (Ophiuroidea) and to the Sea-urchins (Echinoidea)
    • ***

Etymology

Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. steorra; Ger. stern, L. stella (for sterula), Gr. astēr.

Usage

In literature:

Mart stuffed the starfish into his pocket and caught up his all but forgotten camera.
"The Pirate Shark" by Elliott Whitney
There were three of them, about the size of mice, starfish-shaped lumps of translucent, hard, colorless jelly.
"Legacy" by James H Schmitz
Say you want to hear Starfish preach.
"Julian Home" by Dean Frederic W. Farrar
A starfish isn't strong, but he can open the strongest oyster just because he can pull from now on.
"The Ultimate Weapon" by John Wood Campbell
He laid his cheek on the cold shale, and, with his arms and legs outstretched like a giant starfish, he weakly slid.
"The Man from the Bitter Roots" by Caroline Lockhart
Outside Starfish Shoal the girl eased the sheet as the wind freshened.
"Blue-Bird Weather" by Robert W. Chambers
Do you care for starfish?
"The Opened Shutters" by Clara Louise Burnham
In animal life the starfish is the only form I recall based on the number five.
"Under the Maples" by John Burroughs
Their wing projections were bristling with suckers like the rays of a starfish.
"The Goddess of Atvatabar" by William R. Bradshaw
Sometimes mine looked like a starfish, and sometimes like a fist, and both were taboo.
"Confessions of an Opera Singer" by Kathleen Howard
The thing was undoubtedly a starfish, and of light, spongy stone.
"Astounding Stories, August, 1931" by Various
There are not so many evident vertical fibers from cells as found in starfish and some other forms.
"Journal of Entomology and Zoology" by Various
It impressed me chiefly, however, by the enormous size of its crabs and starfishes, which I saw in great numbers under the wharf.
"Alaska" by Ella Higginson
Which kind differs most from such a cell as the starfish egg?
"A Guide for the Study of Animals" by Worrallo Whitney
STARFISHES, bright colours of some, i.
"The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex" by Charles Darwin
Gravelines, with its starfish fortifications, moved by on our left-hand side.
"'Green Balls'" by Paul Bewsher
Dr. Denton lowered his inches to the ground, and there, sprawled like a starfish, regarded me brightly.
"Mavis of Green Hill" by Faith Baldwin
Do you remember the sheen of the pebbles, the soft pinks and grays of the starfish?
"The Transgression of Andrew Vane" by Guy Wetmore Carryl
Companies of brother starfishes went with him.
"The Sun's Babies" by Edith Howes
The starfish is one of the greatest enemies of the oyster, large numbers of which it destroys every year.
"How We are Fed" by James Franklin Chamberlain
***

In news:

Elegant fusion at Starfish.
AROUND THE WORLD (FOX44) – Japan, scientists hope to turn starfish into a health product for your pet.
Bethlehem's Starfish Brasserie restaurant to close for awhile.
The fare really shines at Starfish Brasserie.
The Wyoming Department of Health is looking for nominees for its Starfish Award.
The Starfish award is given to a person or organization that helps people or someone who personally has struggled with mental illness or substance abuse.
Starfish Circus aerial coach Zay Weaver leads a group of students in stretches prior to working on their art of circus performance.
The unsettled weather along the South Carolina coast has caused thousands of starfish to wash on shore at Myrtle Beach.
Starfish Brasserie temporarily closing.
The Starfish Benefit will help the Child and Family Guidance Center of Texoma.
Dollars, coconuts, spurs and starfish .
Silver Lake Starfish submitted this map for the "Map Your L.A".
With this map, Silver Lake Starfish has mapped out romantic adventures in various neighborhoods of Los Angeles.
Starfish Thursday, October 20, 2011: 9:45 am I would love to be able to take my kids to the fall fun day but many parents are working Friday.
Starfish and Dreams fundraiser offers style-filled night for ARC Thrift Stores of Colorado.
***

In science:

Therefore Harris & Zaritsky (2009) restricted StarFISH to fit only a single age bin covering all ages older than 4 Gyr in the bar region.
The star formation history of the Large Magellanic Cloud as seen by star clusters and stars
***