Image of the Day: Star Scans

CT scans illuminate the structure of sea stars.

Jan 30, 2019
Carolyn Wilke
Reconstruction of a leather star, Dermasterias imbricata
CASSANDRA DONATELLI, Mo Turner

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esearchers from the University of Washington and Tufts University are using X-ray CT scans to study the structure of nine sea star species of the Pacific Northwest. The hard skeleton of these creatures is formed from thousands of tiny pieces called ossicles, and the scans revealed how they are arranged. For instance, the leather star, Dermasterias imbricata, has fused ossicles together along the edges of its arms into plate-like features that may serve as defense.