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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Seven-arm Starfish Luidia ciliaris

While the majority of starfish species have five arms, this large species has seven arms and very occasionally eight. Its body and arms have a velvety texture and are colored brick-red to orange-brown. Each arm is fringed with a conspicuous band of multidirectional, stiff white spines, which help the seven-arm starfish to bury itself in the sediment and delve after its prey. Using its long tube feet it can move very quickly over rocks and gravel to latch onto its victims. This starfish is a voracious predator that feeds mainly on other echinoderms, including burrowing sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and brittlestars.

It breeds during the summer in southern Britain but much earlier, between November and January, in the Mediterranean.

Seven-arm Starfishzoom image
  • Class Asteroidea
  • Diameter Up to 24 in (60 cm)
  • Depth 0–1,300 ft (0–400 m)
  • Habitat Sediment, gravel, rock
  • Distribution Temperate waters of northeastern Atlantic and Mediterranean
Seven-arm Starfish Habitat Mapzoom image