Gull eats starfish, auditions for role as LOL animal

Writer Darren Naish, who blogs at Tretrapod Zoology, took this photo of a Larus gull attempting to chow down on an awkwardly shaped starfish. (And, really, are there any other kind of starfish? Especially when you're trying to fit them in your mouth whole?)

You might remember Larus gulls from a recent piece I wrote on speciation and evolution. According to Naish, they might have another place in the story of evolution, as well. Regardless of how Sisyphean this gull's dinner plans may appear, Larus gulls actually (successfully) eat a lot of starfish. So many, in fact, that, as Naish explains in a recent post, they might be prompting one species of starfish to slowly turn a different color — an adaptation that makes the species less visible to gulls.

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  1. I caught this gull trying to eat a starfish a couple of years ago in Vancouver. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how he fit it all in there. 

    1. I watched one in a similar situation. It was just hanging out on the beach, one starfish leg in its mouth. But then, it would spit it out, turn it around, and suck on a different leg. We theorized that it was actually softening up the leg in its crop. The sucked-on leg was much limper and squishier than the others. 

  2. The other echinoderms sniggered at Samson for working out all the time, but he had the last laugh.  Or he would have, if starfish could laugh.

  3. One of my favorite perfumes, Seagull Eating a Starfish: http://www.zomgsmellsshop.com/seagull-eating-a-starfish-1/

  4. “[the gulls] might be prompting one species of starfish to slowly turn a different color — an adaptation that makes the species less visible to gulls.”

    Well, that seems a bit foolish on the gulls’ part, doesn’t it?

  5. When I was a child our English Bulldog did the same thing with a dried starfish brought home from a vacation Florida.  Dogs don’t digest them very well.

  6. Ha great pic. I got lucky with this video of a gull doing his business a couple of weeks ago:

  7. Remember the story about the moths adapting to the darker bark of industrial age trees? Faked.

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