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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Star date: 14 September 2013

Are some of you wondering what happened to the little Bat Stars (Patiria miniata) that Eric raised in the lab?  (If you don't know about this story, you can read about it in the post on 12 August 2013.)  

Well, they've continued to do well, and they've grown quite a bit.  We photographed the Bat Stars again about one month after they went through metamorphosis from the larval stage.  Here are two pictures taken on 14 September 2013.

The first image shows the beautiful spines, giving the little sea star a snowflake-like appearance.  And notice the tubefeet reaching out from below.

The second image highlights the ossicles on the uppermost surface of the sea star.  The ossicles are calcified plates embedded within connective tissue.  They're the skeleton of the sea star.  In the picture below, the ossicles look like little floating puzzle pieces that are perforated.  (Although blurry, you may also be able to see that there are tall spines growing out of the ossicles.)

In these small Bat Stars, the ossicles look remarkably similar to those of a sea cucumber.  Review the post on 16 April 2013 to compare!

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