- Common Name:
- Starfish (Sea Stars)
- Scientific Name:
- Average Life Span In The Wild:
- Up to 35 years
- 4.7 to 9.4 inches
- Up to 11 pounds
Most sea stars sport spiny skin and five arms, although some can grow as many as 50 arms. The arms are covered with pincerlike organs and suckers that allow the animal to slowly creep along the ocean floor.
Light-sensitive eyespots on the tips of the arms help the sea star find food.
Favorites on the menu include mollusks such as clams, oysters, and snails. The sea star eats by attaching to prey and extending its stomach out through its mouth. Enzymes from the sea star’s stomach digest the prey. The digested material enters the sea star’s stomach. Tiny organisms can be swallowed whole. Sea stars occupy every type of habitat, including tidal pools, rocky shores, sea grass, kelp beds, and coral reefs. Some sea stars even live in sands as deep as 20,530 feet (9,000 meters).
Sea stars aren’t social creatures, but they will congregate in large groups during certain times of the year to feed.