(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 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.