As we searched the low tide sandy areas of Three Sisters Islands my son called me over to see this five-legged sea star which I have since learned is called a Lined Sea Star. I’ve never seen a sea star, or starfish, while out on the boat, nor have I found one anyplace else on my Florida seashore travels along the central east coast.
This one was damaged and missing one-half of two legs with another leg broken and ready to detach. What was interesting was the star shapes next to him. The sea star was not moving and when we carefully touched him. I’m pretty sure he was dead, but I know they can grow back their appendages, and I’ve never seen one before.
According to my Florida’s Living Beaches book (affiliate link to Amazon’s 2nd Edition of this book), the area of Florida where this sea star is usually found is not where I live. I was surprised to see it, and sorry that it seemed to be dead.
Either he flipped himself around and left these star shapes in the sand, or a predator did it. It’s a mystery. I took this photo, then moved him carefully to the deeper pool of water nearby, thinking he may have needed water. But I think it was hopeless. We see a lot of birds on this island, so maybe a bird snatched him up from somewhere and he died here.
This Lined Sea Star (Luidia clathrata) was aproximately 6 inches in size. The legs were very stiff and the color was slightly pinkish. I wish he had been living, but just seeing a sea star out on the sand was quite an experience for me.
I also found a pretty awesome horse conch that was larger than the usual tiny specimens that the hermits occupy.