For years I’ve been telling the story of the oyster fisherman who was fed up with sea stars feeding on his oysters. So he gathered up as many sea stars as he could find and chopped each one into several pieces and threw them back in the water. After a few months went by, he found that the sea star population in his oyster bed had tripled because sea stars can regenerate rays that they lose. One sea star cut in half, can easily grow back the rays that each half are missing, to become two sea stars.
I finally have proof that one sea star can become two, even if it loses just one ray. At the end of May, I was visiting a school where a small sea star lost a ray. I gathered up the sea star that now had four rays, and the ray that had broken off, and put them in a container in salt water for safe keeping. When I got home, I placed the sea star and its ray in with the other sea stars, so they could rest and recover. It’s the end of July now, and the photo above is proof of what I found when I was searching for some great sea stars to bring to a program last weekend. This is the ray that the sea star had lost back in May. It’s in the process of becoming a brand new sea star! I now have two sea stars, where there used to be only one. The original sea star is very busy growing a fifth ray back to replace the one it lost. Nature is truly amazing at times!