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SEVEN ARMED STARFISH

Fragile strength. By Susanne Masters

Social conditioning tells us that fragility is a negative trait and loss should be mourned. Seven armed starfish (Luidia ciliaris) teach us otherwise, as one of their strengths lies in fragility. Th eir limbs are brittle and snap off, allowing them to regenerate new limbs to replace ones damaged by predators. Last time I saw a seven armed starfish it was temporarily a six armed starfish with a gap waiting for an arm to regrow. Even when they have all seven arms you can oft en detect the pattern of previous loss, as the newer ones are shorter. Despite the stories that missing limbs tell, 19th Century naturalists were desperate to get intact specimens of seven armed starfish, as their fragility and propensity to drop all their arms in response to being caught made intact specimens rare.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

We are so excited to introduce this month's issue, which celebrates the diversity of the outdoor swimming community around the world. In recent weeks wild swimming has been criticised in the UK media as being white, middle class and elitist. In this issue we hear stories from beyond that stereotype, meeting swimmers who are challenging prejudice and encouraging participation in the open water. From Muslim swimmers in Hong Kong to the trans swimmer who finds strength in the water, we are a global and diverse community. PLUS Olympian Keri-anne Payne teaches you how to swim better breaststroke. Exploring wild swimming spots in Finland. On test: ear plugs. Cookery: Food on the move. Swimrunner - new magazine section devoted to the exciting sport of swimrun!