Say “starfish” and immediately you probably think, a white creature with five legs. Starfish, or sea stars come in various shapes and sizes and are quite amazing animals. They are very colorful. Starfish are usually white in color only when they have dried up and died.
Beach-combing for starfish would be a unsatisfying hobby. You may dream of finding a beautiful, collectable sea star just lying in the sand, but this is unlikely to happen. Sea stars stay in the water if possible.
The Crown of Thorns sea star is quite an amazing looking creature with spikes all over it (blue star pictured). It is poisonous and dangerous to humans as well as sea life. They eat coral and can be detrimental to coral reefs. They are found in the Indio-Pacific region.
For the most part, starfish don’t harm people.
Sea stars are “echinoderms” along with sea urchins, sea cucumbers and sand dollars. They have an exoskeleton and radial symmetry which means that all their legs grow from a central body. They can be found in an array of colors including red and purple and are found in shapes that don’t look anything like you’d expect.
All photos here are courtesy of Pixabay photographers.
The Feather Sea Star
This video is quite amazing. Search for feather sea stars at YouTube to see more feather stars.
The sea star is always found living in salt water. Usually the best place to look for them (to photograph only – no collecting living creatures!) is around rocks and in shallow water. They are nocturnal to avoid predators. This fascinating marine life is even able to regenerate limbs and divide themselves to become two!
About Florida Starfish
Florida has three types of starfish: the Lined sea star, the Thorny starfish, and the Nine-legged starfish. (Starfish and sea star are interchangeable here.)
The starfish in the mud is one I photographed while walking the mud flats on the Indian River lagoon at low tide. He was missing parts of two legs and another leg was broken. Read more here.
I don’t have photos to share of the 9-legged, or 9-arm starfish but here is a video that will give a good look at one. They are mainly found in south and west Florida.