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Rare Sun Starfish found on beach

PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 December 2009 | UPDATED: 16:00 03 July 2010

Eliza-May Crafer with one of the rare Sun Starfish

Eliza-May Crafer with one of the rare Sun Starfish

SISTERS Eliza-May and Madeleine Crafer discovered these rarely spotted sea creatures washed up on the tide this week.

The young beachcombers found a group of Sun Starfish on the snow-clad shoreline between Hemsby and Winterton during a bracing walk with mum Debbie and dad Mark.

SISTERS Eliza-May and Madeleine Crafer discovered these rarely spotted sea creatures washed up on the tide this week.

The young beachcombers found a group of Sun Starfish on the snow-clad shoreline between Hemsby and Winterton during a bracing walk with mum Debbie and dad Mark.

They were among dozens of dead Common Starfish scattered across the sand, providing a tasty treat for flocks of swooping seagulls.

Eight year old Eliza-May and Madeleine, 10, retrieved the Sun Starfish before they disappeared down the hungry birds' beaks.

The five specimens were put in the freezer of the Crafer family's Hemsby home before being captured on camera by Mercury photographer James Bass.

Mum Debbie said: “We go on the beach most days, but I had not seen anything like these starfish before. They were very pretty with

orange, black and yellow colouring. Some of the smaller ones were about the size of a 50p others more the size of a teacup and still in really good condition.”

Earlier this year the family's Border Collie Beauty found a bottle containing a painting by a Dutch artist on the same part of the beach.

Senior marine biologist at Great Yarmouth Sea Life Centre, Darren Gook, said: “Sun Starfish have between 8 and 14 arms and more commonly 10 to 12. They are found all around Britain, but it is fairly rare to turn up on the beach as they are sub-tidal animals. Stormy conditions probably washed them ashore. They are voracious predators and feed on small urchins and sea cucumbers.”

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