Tube feet

Tube feet

Tube feet are the many small tubular projections found most famously on the ventral face of a starfish's arms, but are characteristic of the water vascular system of the echinoderm phylum which also includes sea urchins, sand dollars and sea cucumbers and many other sea creatures.

Tube feet function in locomotion and feeding. The tube feet in a sea star are arranged in grooves along the arms. They operate through hydraulic pressure. They are used to pass food to the ventral mouth at the center, and can attach to surfaces. A sea star that is overturned simply turns one arm over and attaches it to a solid surface, and levers itself the right way up.

Tube feet allow these different types of animals to stick to the ocean floor and move very slowly.

Tube feet consist of two parts: ampulla and podia. Ampulla contain both circular muscles and longitudinal muscle, whereas the podia contain the latter only. Thus the podia use suction to attach to the substratum.

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