Science Fun of the Week
(May 19th, 2017) Get ready for your weekly dose of science fun. Today: Something straight from the Little Shop of Horrors.
To this year's Scientific Image Competition by the Swiss National Science Foundation, Marine Fau from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, submitted this image, titled “The Singing of the Pedicels”. Whether they do musicals is hard to tell but Marine shares some scientific details: “This photograph depicts the crossed pedicels of a starfish belonging to the species Pisaster ochraceus, taken by scanning electron microscope. Pedicellaria are a kind of microscopic claw that covers the body of some species of starfish. In this picture, we can observe pedicels called "crossed" because they consists of two valves wrapped around each other, and articulated on a base piece compressed between these valves. The sea stars, generally, use their pedicellaires to protect themselves from parasites but some species also use their pedicels to feed themselves. Most people only see sea stars as simple marine animals, synonymous with vacation and exotic destination. That's why I particularly like this photograph because it shows all the complexity of these microscopic structures, with the pedicellars similar to the jaws of monsters, belonging to an unsuspected world.”