Flexibility in starfish behavior by multi-layered mechanism of self-organization

Masao Migita*, Etsuo Mizukami, Yukio Pegio Gunji

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding animal behavior as a product of natural selection sometimes result in an underestimation of the animal's adaptability: lower animals with poor mental capabilities are usually considered to simply exhibit innate behavioral patterns. Self-organized behavior may exhibit both stability of certain behavioral patterns and flexibility in adopting those patterns. Thus, the self-organization processes of starfish arm and tube feet movements are investigated, by observing obstacle avoidance behavior and tube feet of moving starfish. As starfish have no central nervous systems, their behaviors are the result of certain self-organization processes. Starfish have hierarchically constructed motor organs consisting of arms and tube feet. The collective behavior of the tube feet does not function only as simple fluctuations in the arms' coordination. As a result, starfish seem to exhibit more versatile behavioral changes than expected from the original model of a self-organized behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-115
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Nov
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal behavior
  • Flexibility
  • Self-organization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Applied Mathematics


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