Background

The Common Sunstar is a species of starfish with 8-14 arms that are lined with very small tube feet that are used to manouvre the animal as well as to grasp onto prey. It has a reddish pink colour with distinct bands of white, pink, yellow or dark red as well as a blunt spines lining their surface.

Habitat

Exclusively found in the marine environment whether it be rocky, gravel or coarse sand bottoms. They can live at depths of 300m as well as within the occasional shallow rock pool.

Diet

Like all starfish, the Common Sunstar uses it arms as suction to grasp onto its prey, but unlike others its diet consists of smaller starfish and sea urchins as well as a variety of shellfish. It is also no stranger to cannibalism, where larger individuals often consume smaller ones.

Predators & Threats

They are unpallatable to most animals, so have few natural predators with the exception of others within the species. Ocean acidification is decreasing the survivorship in their larvae and increasing sea temperatures are decreasing the speeds at which they are able to grow.

Facts

  • It is one of the fastest species of starfish, being able to reach maximum speeds of 70cm per minute.
  • When in the vicinity of a Sunstar, animals like sea urchins and britlle sea stars can be seen fleeing the area.
  • Like all starfish, to digest food the Sunstar encloses itself around its prey and ejects its stomach.
  • If it loses an arm, it can slowly ┬áregenerate it.

 

Common Name(s)Scientific Name
Common Sunstar, Snowflake StarCrossaster papposus
Size
Up to about 35cm in diameter
Lifespan
11-20 years

Best Time to Look

All year round.

Where to find Common Sunstar