Tag: Starfish

Top Ten Most Wanted, Continued (#2)

(This post is part of our blog series that deals with Pearls International’s take on social and environmental responsibility. For more information on how Pearls International gives back, please click here.)

As this series nears its end, we would like to talk about a huge offender to not just oysters and other mollusks, but everything that lives in the ocean. Not all threats are other animals, or even living organisms at all. Some of the most deadly predators are unseen.

Ocean Acidification Most Wanted Poster

2) Ocean Acidification
Ocean Acidification is a huge concern in the sustainability in our oceans in the not-so-distant future. Our oceans naturally absorb carbon dioxide, and their capacity to contain CO2 is not endless, as once was thought. The more carbon emissions we create (from excessive burning of fossil fuels), the more acidic our oceans are becoming. These increasingly acidic waters have a huge effect on our ecosystems, beginning in areas where water is shallow and slowly spreading outward. Oysters and other mollusks have trouble getting the energy to build up their shells, and many spats expend all their energy and die before given the chance. On the other hand, oyster predators such as crabs have adapted to grow thicker shells to defend against the acidic waters. Starfish have been documented to consume 20% more oysters when the oysters are submitted to acidic waters (as the animals will have thinner, weaker shells and be much smaller than healthy oysters.) With food supply for these predators getting shorter, the food chain in the ecosystems they reside in is becoming more and more off balance.

Top Ten Most Wanted, Continued (#3 and Counting)

(This post is part of our blog series that deals with Pearls International’s take on social and environmental responsibility. For more information on how Pearls International gives back, please click here.)

If you enjoyed last week’s blog, you may think you cannot be shocked any further by oyster predators.  Well – fasten your seat belts, because what you are about to read is even more shocking.

Starfish Most Wanted Poster

 

3) Starfish
Starfish are the largest natural predator of oysters and mollusks. A starfish population within an oyster bed can quickly consume 90% of young oysters soon after they have attached to the bed.

The Starfish’s methods are uncanny and frightening in an alien-kind of way.  Here’s how they operate:  A starfish uses its tiny tube-feet which cover his underside to grab ahold of the oyster. He holds the oyster near his mouth opening at the center of the star on his underside, then pries the shell open.  He inserts his stomach into the oyster – you heard that right – “into” the oyster – then releases digestive enzymes into the oyster to help break down its flesh.  Shocking, but true.

Some species of starfish swallow their prey whole instead, and break down everything from within.  Either way, we believe this particular oyster menace should be given Number Three (#3) on our Ten Most Wanted List.

Stay tuned for more unbelievable oyster threats, leading up to the Number One (#1) enemy of our beloved oysters.