The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is one of our favourite agencies? Why? They're like the NASA of planet Earth. From tracking hurricanes to exploring the vast, inky blackness of the deep oceans, there's nothing that they can't do.
And now, they're making us hungry.
That's because of a recent discovery by their current Windows to the Deep 2019 expedition. This mission is using remote cameras to capture unexplored parts of the deep waters around the Southeastern United States. Among the hundreds of images and videos that they've released to the public, one really has our excitement boiling over.
The ravioli starfish.
That's NOT my name!
To be clear, you can't actually eat this animal. But even once we accept that it's not as tasty as it looks, there are two interesting points about this 'discovery'.
The first? This isn't actually it's discovery! This starfish — or more properly sea star — has been known to science since at least 2010. But the specimens found at that time were dead. So while scientists could describe many things about them — even their diet, thanks to analyzing the stomach contents — this was the first time that they could actually observe them in the wild doing their thing.
(By the way, 'their thing' mainly consists of laying about and eating coral.)
The second point? Ravioli starfish is not their actual name. Yes, they have the usual Latin name (in this case, Plinthaster dentatus ), but we're not even talking about that. They were already known as cookie stars. (Jeez, how many delicious names can one animal have? When's lunch??)
We're NOT a treat!
We get the name cookie star. They do look like unbaked, freshly cut sugar cookie dough. But once these new photos were released and the nickname ravioli starfish was suggested, the internet took over. So whether they like it or not, these critters are probably stuck with it. Sorry.
But they could always start a support group with the fried egg jellyfish and the dumpling squid for Misleadingly Delicious-Sounding Undersea Animals!