Photo: University of Southern Denmark

Starfish Expells Implanted Microchip via Legs

|   How the Failure of One Study Turned into the Successful Discovery of Another

Two biology students from the University of Southern Denmark tasked with labeling starfish thought their assignment would be an easy one; that is until the dog-faced puffer ate their homework and they discovered something unique.

Tiny microchip tags resembling a grain of rice, only smaller, had been inserted into the echinoderms body to facilitate identification. However, it wasn't long before the microchip tags, similar to the kind used to identify pets, were no longer inside the body of the starfish. Upon further investigation, the students discovered that the microchips were traveling around inside its body, avoiding all organs, eventually being expelled through the tips of the starfish's arms.

To put this into perspective, this is along the lines of the liquid metal T-1000 from the Terminator movie franchise, safely expelling bullets from its body.

The research is described in a paper recently published in The Biological Bulletin.

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