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Cold Water Invertebrates

Because there’s no better way to gain an appreciation for marine life than by connecting with nature by getting hands-on! In our Creature Feature exhibit, guests of all sizes will have the chance to touch a variety of cold water invertebrates from the rocky shores of the Pacific Northwest, including:

Sea Stars - See and touch a variety of sea stars, including Bat Stars, Leather Starfish, Ochre Star and Spiny Sunstar. Did you know? Sea Star regeneration will occur as long as one fifth of the sea star's body remains intact. The bright orange dot in the center of the body is called the madreporite. This organ pumps water into the sea star's body. This pumping action creates suction at the end of hundreds of tube feet, located in paired rows on the underside of the arms.

Anemones - a group of water-dwelling, predatory animals named after the anemone, a terrestrial flower. Anemones have a mouth is in the middle of the oral disc surrounded by tentacles with tiny little hairs. When the hair is touched it mechanically triggers the cell explosion, a harpoon-like structure which attaches to organisms that trigger it, and injects a dose of poison in the flesh of the aggressor or prey. This gives the anemone its characteristic sticky feeling. The sea anemone eats small fish and shrimp.

Hermit Crabs - Commonly found along the Atlantic coast of North America from New Brunswick to the Gulf of Mexico in deeper waters. It is comprised of one flat major claw with wart-like projections called tubercles. It has a soft, coiled abdomen that fits inside the "borrowed" shell. A Hermit Crab also has two pairs of walking legs while the last pair of its legs are used to firmly hold on to the inside of its shell.