NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

This Bizarre Starfish Looks Like Stuffed Ravioli But Please Don't Try To Eat It

Do you remember a few months ago when the internet was totally captivated by a starfish who looked suspiciously like Patrick from Spongebob and who also was thicc as heck?

Well, move over Pat because there's a new starfish in town and this one has the internet craving some delicious ravioli.

Scientists on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ship Okeanos Explorer recently discovered this peculiar fella.

NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

According to TIME, the team of eight has been hard at work studying coral and other marine life off the southeast coast of the United States. And photos of their latest discovery has taken the internet by storm because this little guy looks just like stuffed pasta. Or ravioli, to be exact.

But let's just make it clear right away that these starfish are totally inedible. So kindly put down your forks and knives please.

In a blog post, Smithsonian and sea life expert Chris Mah offered some insight into this delicious, pillowy creature.

NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

Apparently, its scientific name is Plinthaster dentatus but it also goes by "cookie" or "ravioli" starfish.

"This species stands out because the arms and disk are nearly confluent, thus presenting a more pentagonal shape relative to other sea stars," Mah wrote in the post.

While the species was first discovered in 1884, this particular sighting is significant because it's the first time it's been spotted alive.

NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research

And, as Mah wrote, the observation gave great insight into its unique feeding habits:

"On one dive, we observed some very large individuals of this species perched on the surface of numerous glass sponges."

Mah told TIME, "What was remarkable was that you have several different species and genera of ravioli stars feeding on the sponge, not once, but twice."

So what is it that makes these little sea creatures look like such a delectable Italian pasta dish?

Well, they're definitely not stuffed with ricotta cheese or spinach, that's for sure. To put it quite simply, that's just how they look. There's no real reason beyond that. But Mah says there's no reason needed.

β€œ[Ravioli starfish] are really bizarre looking,” he told TIME. β€œThe weirdness is what makes them so interesting.”

h/t: TIME, NOAA

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