Strange Science: Love and Turning Stomachs Inside Out?

Purple and orange starfish on a sandy beach, partially covered by seawaterYou’ve probably heard of oxytocin, commonly called the “love hormone” in humans. But did you know that in starfish, oxytocin causes them to turn their stomachs inside out and feed?

Scientists find this fact to be a little unusual, because in mice, oxytocin is an appetite suppressant. But for starfish, injecting them with oxytocin made the sea creatures prepare to eat, even when a food source was not present. The researchers currently working with this experiment hope that their findings will help to develop a way to keep starfish from feeding on coral, as starfish are currently having an extreme adverse effect on the Australian Great Barrier Reef due to their taste for coral.

You can read more about this study here!

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