If you’ve never seen the “Ravioli” starfish before, prepare to be both hungry and scientifically intrigued. That’s because the Ravioli, while a somewhat common find amongst deep-ocean trawls, is still a mysterious species. It also, as you can see, looks dead-on like a delicious ravioli. (It’s OK if you literally thought about taking a bite there for a split-second.)
This particular Ravioli starfish, which comes via Mashable, was found last year by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NOAA’s exploratory vessel, Okeanos Explorer, made the discovery while operating off the southeast coast of the U.S.. That’s what the NOAA refers to as “America’s backyard.” And while the species was actually first discovered in 1884, the NOAA says its biology is still “largely unknown.”
RAVIOLI OR SEA CREATURE? That's the question the internet is asking after @NOAA released video of this pasta-shaped starfish. Plinthaster dentatus dates back to 1884, but very little is known it. https://t.co/tRI5oE42s0 pic.twitter.com/cyU817RDIR— CBS News Miami (@CBSMiami) July 11, 2019
According to the NOAA, the Ravioli (also referred to as the “Cookie” star fish or Plinthaster dentatus) stands out as a species because of—you guessed it—its shape. “[T]he arms and disk [of the Ravioli] are nearly confluent,” the NOAA notes, “thus presenting a more pentagonal shape relative to other sea stars.” Essentially, it looks like a big ol’ pillowy ravioli that you could take a big, cheesy bite out of.
Although the Ravioli is a common find for the NOAA, this sighting was unique because researchers were able to capture the sea star feeding. And apparently Ravioli starfish like to eat stuff off of… “numerous glass sponges.” Which makes the Ravioli sound about 300 times less appealing as a snack. But as a scientific specimen? Things may just be heating up.
What do you think about this Ravioli starfish? Is the cute sea creature kind of putting you in the mood for Italian, or are you just looking to take a deep dive into the
marinara Mariana Trench? Let’s get scientifically saucy in the comments, people!
Feature image: NOAA