During abundance surveys of the nine-armed sea star Luidia senegalensis (Lamark, 1816) in shallow waters north of Cubagua Island, Venezuela, novel locomotive behaviour was recorded in one sea star. The animal was observed to ‘walk’ with four arms in contact with the benthos whilst the remaining five were held erect. This previously unreported means of locomotion may be: for chemosensory detection of the surroundings; to alter the characteristic track pattern left in sediments as a means to avoid detection by predators; or, to lift the arms to attract commensal cleaners, thus eliminating epibiont commensals that may occupy the ambulacral groove. Whilst the predators of L. senegalensis remain unknown, earlier observations of serranid fish biting this species may support the notion of this behaviour as a predator avoidance strategy.
Tagliafico, A, Nimbs, MJ & Rangel, MS 2017, 'Observations of novel locomotion in the sea star Luidia senegalensis (Lamark, 1816) (Asteroidea: Paxillosida)', Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology, vol. 50, issue 3, pp. 233-237.
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