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:3/22/2016)... March 22, 2016 ... Sensors Market for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, ... Application (Communication & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, ... Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the ... to reach USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... 2016 --> --> ... Market Research "Digital Door Lock Systems Market - Global Industry ... the global digital door lock systems market in terms of ... is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 31.8% during ... medium enterprises (MSMEs) across the world and high industrial activity ...
(Date:3/11/2016)... --> --> ... Recognition Market by Technology (Pattern Recognition), by Component (Hardware, ... Type (On-Premises and Cloud), by Industry Vertical and by ... the global market is expected to grow from USD ... 2020, at a CAGR of 19.1%. , ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... and RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. , ... UTHR ) announced today that Martine Rothblatt ... Therapeutics will provide an overview and update on the ... Annual Health Care Conference. The presentation will ... a.m. Eastern Time, and can be accessed via a ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2016 , ... ... Lamka, PhD to its Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Lamka will assist PathSensors in ... pathogen detection. , PathSensors deploys the CANARY® test platform for the detection ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... , ... Global Stem Cells Group and the University of Santiago ... and development initiatives for potential stem cell protocol management for 2016 – 2020. ... began meeting to establish a working agenda and foster initiatives to promote stem cell ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... ... Rothgerber Christie LLP as an associate in the firm’s Intellectual Property practice group. ... mechanical and electromechanical patent applications. He has an electrical engineering and computer engineering ...
Breaking Biology Technology: