Common Starfish Asterias rubens
Linnaeus, 1758

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Description & ID Features

It has thick fleshy tapering limbs, the upper side of which are covered by blunt spines. Colour varies from yellow to orange brown, with a paler underside.


Starfish are notable predators feeding mainly on bivalves. Commercial oyster beds may suffer due to this creature particularly when Starfish epidemics occur. The starfish has developed an effective technique for opening bivalves. The feet tube are manipulated and coordinated to apply a constant pull on each valve. When the bivalve tires the valves open just enough for the creature to insert its stomach into the shell. Initially the bivalve’s body is digested partly and later ingested into the starfish for complete digestion


Found on rocky or lower shore under rocks but is mainly an offshore creature It can reach over a foot across, but only at depth, on shore finds are generally much smaller.Asterias rubens occurs in varying abundance upon a variety of substrata that include coarse and shelly gravel and rock.



Hans Hillewaert / , via Wikimedia Commons