'Love hormone' has stomach-turning effect in starfish !
A hormone that is released in our brain when we fall in love also makes starfish turn their stomach inside out to feed, according to a new study from Queen Mary University of London. Oxytocin, more commonly known as the 'love hormone', is important for sexual reproduction in humans, other mammals and even nematode worms, but this study shows that in the common European starfish (Asterias rubens) it is important for feeding.

It could play an important role in controlling the feeding behavior of the crown of thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci), which feeds on coral and is having a devastating impact on the Australian Great Barrier Reef.

Professor Maurice Elphick, lead author of the study said: "Our study has provided important new evidence that oxytocin-type molecules are important and ancient regulators of feeding in animals. So oxytocin is much more than a 'love hormone' - perhaps especially for animals like starfish that don't fall in love!"

The researchers found that the effect of the hormone is so powerful it made starfish 2-3 times slower at righting themselves when flipped over. This is an important defense behavior in nature as they can be upturned by strong waves.

Source: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-07/qmuo-hh073019.php
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