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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Serpent Star Acanthaster planci

Serpent stars are a type of brittlestar with long, flexible arms. During the day they wind their arms tightly round the branches of the deep-water black corals in which they live. At night they uncoil their arms and move around, feeding on the living polyps of their host. A black coral bush one or two yards high may be host for up to forty or so serpent stars.

Serpent Star habitat mapzoom image
Serpent Starzoom image
Serpent Starzoom image
Serpent Starzoom image
  • Class Ophiuroidea
  • Astrobrachion Adhaerens
  • Diameter Up to 12 in (30 cm)
  • Depth 50–600 ft (15–180 m)
  • Habitat Antipatharian black corals
  • Distribution Tropical and temperate waters of Australia and southwestern Pacific