Navigation Links
Scientists uncover secrets of starfish's bizarre feeding mechanism
Date:8/1/2013

Scientists have identified a molecule that enables starfish to carry out one of the most remarkable forms of feeding in the natural world.

A starfish feeds by first extending its stomach out of its mouth and over the digestible parts of its prey, such as mussels and clams. The prey tissue is partially digested externally before the soup-like "chowder" produced is drawn back into its 10 digestive glands.

The researchers at Queen Mary, University of London and the University of Warwick have discovered a neuropeptide -- a molecule which carries signals between neurons -- called NGFFYamide, which triggers the stomach to contract and retract back into the starfish.

The findings could have economic and environmental implications by providing a potential mechanism for controlling starfish predation.

Maurice Elphick, Professor of Physiology and Neuroscience at Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences who led the research, said: "These findings open up the possibility of designing chemical-based strategies to control the feeding of starfish.

"Starfish predation has an economic impact as they feed on important shellfish, such as mussels and clams. Periodic increases in starfish populations can also cause major destruction to Pacific reef tracts, such as the Great Barrier Reef, as certain species feed on reef-building corals."

The study, published today in The Journal of Experimental Biology, was carried out using computer analysis of DNA sequence data, chemical analysis of starfish nerves and pharmacological tests.

Professor Elphick added: "Interestingly, we have also found that the neuropeptide behind the stomach retraction is evolutionarily related to a neuropeptide that regulates anxiety and arousal in humans."

The new finding adds to build on previous work from the team at Queen Mary in which they identified neuropeptides called SALMFamides that trigger the relaxation and eversion of the starfish stomach.


'/>"/>

Contact: Katrina Coutts
k.coutts@qmul.ac.uk
Queen Mary, University of London
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Geoscientists unearth mineral-making secrets potentially useful for new technologies
2. Scientists discover a molecular switch in cancers of the testis and ovary
3. Scientists at Mainz University decode mechanisms of cell orientation in the brain
4. Scientists from Mainz and Antananarivo describe Lavasoa Dwarf Lemur as new primate species
5. Neuroscience symposium bringing top scientists to Louisville, Aug. 1-2
6. University of Alberta scientists get dirty at the Robson Glacier
7. Gallo Center scientists identify key brain circuits that control compulsive drinking in rats
8. Scientists Develop New Way to Measure Cumulative Effect of Head Hits in Football
9. Scientists develop new way to measure cumulative effect of head hits in football
10. Scientists construct visual of intracellular zip code signaling linked to learning, memory
11. Scientists solve a 14,000-year-old ocean mystery
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/11/2017)... NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ:   NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ... independent Directors Mr. Robin D. Richards and Mr. ... the company,s corporate governance and expertise. ... Gino Pereira , Chief Executive Officer said," ... and benefiting from their considerable expertise as we move forward ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... YORK , April 4, 2017   EyeLock ... today announced that the United States Patent and Trademark ... patent broadly covers the linking of an iris image ... same transaction) and represents the company,s 45 th ... latest patent is very timely given the multi-modal biometric ...
(Date:3/29/2017)...  higi, the health IT company that operates the ... , today announced a Series B investment from ... The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to ... population health activities through the collection and workflow integration ... collects and secures data today on behalf of over ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/11/2017)... ... August 11, 2017 , ... “There is an ... natural alternatives to synthetic ingredients,” said Matt Hundt, President of Third Wave Bioactives. ... manufacturing presence and know-how of Biorigin will allow us to bring truly novel ...
(Date:8/10/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Teachers from three Philadelphia middle schools are ... the 16th, the University City Science Center will kick off the second FirstHand ... middle school educators an opportunity for professional development related to STEM education. ...
(Date:8/10/2017)... NC (PRWEB) , ... August 09, 2017 , ... Each ... Almost half never recover well enough to live an independent lifestyle and, even worse, ... , A new discovery by doctors at the University of California Davis Medical Center ...
(Date:8/10/2017)... ... August 09, 2017 , ... SPIE, the international ... — the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, the Manstein Lab in the Cutaneous Biology ... Laser Institute at University of California, Irvine — and the Hillenkamp family to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: