Here's the original, very static heavy video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tV5H1qNwFKo
and here is the "cleaned up" version which was released in October 2017...
These and other venues reported it with such inaccurate hyperbole as "Incredible moment starfish WALKS down the beach after getting stranded on the sand!!" with the word "INCREDIBLE" being dropped as if this was somehow aliens landing on the Earth for the first time!
But sadly, what was happening here wasn't really THAT momentous and in fact was pretty sad.
There was no information on what was happening, what species this was or the context of this whole thing... So here's my attempt to shed some light on this..
1. What species is this? And how does it live normally?
You can read lots about Luidia in a blog I wrote here in 2014!
Long story short..they eat snails, clams and other small critters in the sand. They can bury themselves in the top part of the sediment where they live.
This species in the waters of the tropical Atlantic on the US coast.. Florida, South Carolina, etc. are commonly encountered and commonly seen on beaches..
2. Seen on BEACHES? Why is THAT??
How did this individual end up on the beach? Likely due to a mass stranding following a storm, which I've written about here... But here's a video of such an occurrence featuring many, MANY of this species stranded along the shoreline
3. What makes them so vulnerable?
Basically these sea stars don't have a lot of "hold" on the surface because their tube feet are pointed rather than suckered. Their little tube feet are modified to help them efficiently dig into the sand or other sediment both to help them feed and to hide them from potential predators..
BUT when big waves or currents come along.. they can be swept away and taken to hostile environs such as this seashore..
Bear in mind that this species is quite abundant and while its unclear what these "natural disasters" mean for the population of these animals, I wouldn't be surprised if the recovery was relatively quick given how many of them there are..
4. What do they look like alive and "normal"???
Here is a healthy individual of this species moving naturally underwater, albeit near the beachfrot
So, its literally been months since the original "crawling" video posted but I STILL have this being sent to me with comments about "HOW WONDERFUL IS NATURE OCEAN" or "AMAZING OCEAN CREATURE" etc. etc... when in truth this video exploits this animal desperately trying to get back to the ocean
There's an important consideration here: Sea stars operate using a unique series of tubes in their body called the water vascular system which operates primarily using hydraulic pressure throughout the arms and so forth. This is how they move and operate all of their tube feet and so on...
The water vascular system NEEDS SEAWATER TO OPERATE.
Fluid is still required for movement AND survival. Water carries oxygen and other necessities, such as food and etc. throughout the body.