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FAQs about Sea Star Identification 8

Related Articles: Sea Stars, Brittle Stars, Asterina Stars, An Introduction to the Echinoderms: The Sea Stars, Sea Urchins, Sea Cucumbers and More... By James W. Fatherree, M.Sc.

Related FAQs: Sea Star ID 1, Sea Star ID 2, Sea Star ID 3, Sea Star ID 4, Seastar ID 5, Seastar ID 6, Seastar ID 7, Seastar ID 9, & CC Star Identification, Linckia Identification, Sandsifting Star ID, & Sea Stars 1, Sea Stars 2, Sea Stars 3, Sea Stars 4, Sea Stars 5, Brittle Stars, Seastar Selection, Seastar Compatibility, Seastar Systems, Seastar Behavior, Seastar Feeding, Seastar Reproduction, Seastar Disease, Asterina Stars, Chocolate Chip Stars, Crown of Thorns Stars, Fromia Stars, Linckia Stars, Linckia Stars 2, Sand-Sifting Stars,

Starfish Identification 04/18/10
I purchased this starfish at the LFS today he said it came from the Gulf of Mexico. Any help on the species would be great. He is smaller than my hand and as seen in the photo a crème color with orangish/pinkish suckers.
Thanks Jerry
Starfish Identification
Sorry here is the picture :-)
<Likely a Echinaster spinulosus. Read here:
and the linked files above.
Bob Fenner>

Sea Star Help, IDs 3/8/2010
Dear Crew,
Well again I come to you after searching the site and not finding much.
My wife has an obsession with sea stars of all sorts, which has lead to many a isolation tank being setup because of non reef safe stars being brought home and dumped into the tank ("But the guy told me they were reef safe".."
Well then why is it eating my mushroom polyps?") heh. Anyway, before adding her newest, and most wonderful stars into the tank, she at least dropped them into the sump for temp acclimation, so we had time to identify them before we release them into the tank. They look to me as if they are a member of the Tosia family,
<Mmm, the genus of the family Goniasteridae? Maybe the second, orange one... the first is almost certainly an Asteriniid. Please see here:
which would be reef safe as I have found nothing stating they munch on corals. They were sold to me as Sheriff Badges,
<"Get on your horse and ride!">
though when looking up that common name nothing looked very close to these. The closest common name I have found was Biscuit Sea Star, which lead me to the Tosia family which looked the closest to the actual stars. If you would be so kind as to help me out here, I would hate to have to setup another tank for these guys. I told her to stick with Linckias..hehe. Thanks crew!!
p.s. Sorry for the bad images, they are still in the bags, as I don't want to release them just yet.
<Perhaps some other images (in the tank) later. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

Re: Sea Star Help, IDs 3/17/10
As requested here are some different images, hopefully better. These guys are tough to capture. They crawled deep into the live rock, and I had a heck of a time trying to catch them (had to turn the lights off and tempt them with tasty morsels). They currently reside in the refugium but only until I can get a more positive ID. The fuge is actually rather hidden, and if they are deemed "unworthy" for the main reef tank, they will end back up at the LFS. I really don't think putting them in with my calico box crab would be a good idea, nor the trigger/puffer tank, or the murex snail tank, or the....well, you get the idea ;). Thanks again for all the help!
<Thank you Justin. My guesses as to species for these Asteroids stand as before. Cheers, BobF>

Starfish ID: Asterina -- 3/2/10
<Hello Mike, Lynn here tonight.>
Sorry to bother you folks again but I'm new to the saltwater world and want to take no chances of having a dangerous species of hitchhiker.
<I can certainly understand that.>
Attached is a picture of a starfish that was spotted tonight.
<I see it, thanks.>
After looking through about 15-20 pages on your website I decided to just go ahead and ask because once again there were too many pics for me to be able to get an exact match as to what my species might be. I assume its some sort of Asterina Starfish but would love confirmation.
<Yep, it looks like an Asterina spp. to me as well (family Asterinidae). Unfortunately, there's no way I can ID it to species level though. There are just too many to choose from and the differences can be slight, requiring close examination. You can't simply differentiate based on color because it can vary, even within a given species. For instance, Asterina folium, a small (max size ~1' across) species from Bermuda, Florida and the Caribbean, varies in color from mostly white to yellow, orange, or red, as well as blue or blue-green. I'd say that little star pretty much has the spectrum covered!>
My LFS gets their live rock off the coast of Florida so I assume it hitchhiked from there or possibly on a purchased coral. The pictures are attached.
<Thanks. I'm guessing that you'd like to know if this star poses any sort of threat to future livestock, namely corals? If so, the answer is yes, unfortunately it's possible. Asterina stars can go either way. Some seem to be content to graze on algae, while others prey on corals. Sometimes they even start off grazing on algae, then move on to corals. I just can't give you a concrete answer either way as to how 'safe' this little star might be long-term. Personally, I tend to see hitchhikers (except for crabs) as innocent until proven guilty, but it's up to you. For more information, please see the following links starting at WWM: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/asterinaidf.htm
Thank you!
<You're very welcome!
<Take care, LynnZ>

Re: Starfish ID: Asterina -- 3/3/10
Thank you Lynn.
<You're very welcome, Mike.>
And that's my thoughts also, innocent until proven guilty!
<Yep, most hitchhikers are beneficial or at least fairly innocuous, so I like to give them the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.>
The little guy/gal will stay for now unless I see it bothering my corals.
<Sounds good>
Thanks for the quick reply as usual. You folks are a great asset to all of us saltwater enthusiasts.
<On behalf of Bob and the rest of the crew, thank you very much!>
Keep up the good work!
<Will do>
Cheers, Mike.
<Take care, LynnZ>

Pseudochromis and sea star ID? 2/15/10
Howdy all at WWW!
You guys have been a great help to me over the past 4 or 5 years. I have found on your archives questions I asked, eons ago. Many thanks!!
I have two critters I can't ID. You may download these pics for use on your site if you want, and if you want bigger pics, I can email them to you. I have browsed both of the ID pages for these animals and only have a slight clue on the fish... totally clueless on the sea stars.
The first, I have suspected is a Pseudochromis cyanotaenia, but mine has a lot more yellow than the ones I've seen online. He's blue and yellow, with markings you can see in the pics.
<I do think this is the fish. There is some regional variability in coloring, markings>
He was purchased as a "blue back pseudo". He wants to fight the royal gramma that is in the tank BESIDE him, which is hilarious to watch. Both fish go nuts, so I'll have to put a sheet of paper in between the tanks if they keep it up.
Next is an identical pair of sea stars that are a rescue. I normally do not keep sea stars, but a friend of mine purchased a used 120g tank and these came with it (along with a few blue hermits). My friend had nowhere to put
them and I ended up with them.
I have no idea on the origin and I do not know the original owner. They could be a temperate specie from the North Carolina coast, since those sort of things make their way inland here to Raleigh on the occasion. I have
sent an inquiry to some students at the University in Wilmington to help ID them if they are native. They appear to be detritivores but will come out of hiding for some Mysis. Slowly. But surely. They are only 3/4" across, very small right now. They have not messed with any soft corals or LPS at this point, but I can move them to the 29g refugium if needed.
Notice the orange spot. They both have that. Maybe a clue? I can't tell.
Skin is definitely rough.
<Mmm, can't quite make out details on your pix. Could/would you try "shooting from above" with the pumps turned off? Bob Fenner>
Any help is great!!!
Many thanks!!

Re: Pseudochromis and sea star ID? 2/15/10
My friend over on the coast, who is a marine biology student, ID'ed the sea star pretty confidently as Asterius forbesi.
<A. forbesi>
Not reef safe (well, they are when they are this small, lol). I'll find someone who keeps native stuff and let them have them.
Thanks for the help with the ID on the P. cyanotaenia. A couple hobbyists from Nano-reef.com have also agreed with this.
<Thank you Matt. BobF>

Need help on starfish id -- 2/12/10
Hello and thank you for all the valuable info you have given me through browsing your website. I spend countless hours on it. So, I bought a red sea star yesterday, and I admit it was an impulse buy. Had I done my research I wouldn't have gotten it. I believe it is a Echinaster luzonicus.
<Might be...>
Enclosed are pictures, sorry if they are a bit blurry. Am I correct on it's id? I've researched it a lot, and got some mixed info.
Some sites say water temp should be from 78 to 84,
<Too high>
and some say it should be no higher than 76.
<No higher than 80F.>
Info on this creature has been somewhat difficult to find.
I've checked on WWM, and can't seem to find too much info on this particular
species. I really don't want it to die. How can I keep it alive?
<Mmm, search the Net, books...>
The store will take it back, but will not give a refund or exchange it. I told them they shouldn't be selling these to people as they don't even know what it is. I thank you for sharing your knowledge.
<I wish I had more to proffer... Have seen this animal in the wild, but have no husbandry experience with it. Bob Fenner>

Re: Need help on starfish id -- 2/12/10
Thank you for your prompt reply. My current water temp is 78. So he should be ok with that I assume. Should I try feeding him bits of oysters?
Hopefully he will be ok if I can get it to eat.
<... Agreed... what little I've seen in ref.s list this as an omnivorous species. I hope the system is large, well-established and has plenty of healthy LR. BobF>

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