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FAQs about Sea Star Identification 9

Related Articles: Sea Stars, Brittle StarsAsterina 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 8, & CC Star Identification, Linckia Identification, Sandsifting Star ID, & Sea Stars 1, Sea Stars 2, Sea Stars 3, Sea Stars 4, Sea Stars 5, Brittle StarsSeastar 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 ID       9/5/17
Hello Crew!
Can anyone assist with ID of this pretty hitchhiker I found in a shipment of Botryocladia?
He appears to like meat.... found him on top of a large PE Mysis today in my seahorse tank.... Attached pics of top and bottom with Mysis attached!
<Any idea Lynn? BobF>

Another picture of starfish       9/5/17
Here is a better picture of my Botryocladia hitchhiker. Can you identify?
<Looks something like a Blue Fromia species. Am asking Lynn Zurik to chime in here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Another picture of starfish     9/6/17
Hi Bob, I've seen that star before, but can't identify it at this time.
Sorry for the delay in responding - on top of the hurricane Harvey stuff, I slipped on Monday, fell and wound up with a concussion, a cut worthy of Harry Potter on my forehead and a broken arm/wrist.
<Aye ya! When it rains....!!!>
It's nothing time won't heal, but in the meantime, I don't have any of my research books and can't find that star online. I agree that it looks like some sort of Fromia spp - or maybe an Echinaster of some sort. There's a variety in Florida/Caribbean (Echinaster sentus - not blue) that has what appears to be nodules on the arms, but they're more spine-like. I'm thinking Fromia. I'll keep looking - if I find it, I'll send in a response. Take care, Lynn Z
<Thank you Lynn. Please do take care. BobF>

RE: Another picture of starfish  9/7/17
Thanks so much for the reply! I do believe this star comes from Florida area, as it was included in shipment of algae collected in Florida...., and my lighting in the picture is making the star look more blue, it's actually kind of a mauve color....
<Mmm; maybe another Echinaster then... E. spinulosus?
Bob Fenner>

Itty-Bitty Starfish ID...is it a 'good guy"?       12/2/16
My son noticed this starfish in our 29 gallon holding tank and I remembered seeing something about some small whitish starfish eating corals... Should I flush him or put him back and be grateful?
<Up to you... appears to be an Asterina sp.... worth the possible, potential damage?>
Right now he's in a ZipLock floating in the refugium just to be safe. Just
in case it matters, in the holding tank I have small frags from a few Zoas, green fuzzy mushrooms, a couple GSP, a daisy polyp, and a couple leathers.
<Mmm; I'd likely keep it if there not too many. Please read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Starfish ID        11/13/16
Hoping to ID my starfish. had a number of stars before and realised that Linckia will eat sand stars so stayed away from them.
<Tis on WWM..... try looking up Nardoa novaecaledoniae (Perrier 1875)>
Ended up with other species such as this one but just want to be sure it will not eat my other stars.
<Keep reading. Bob Fenner>

Eight legged starfish       2/10/15
Was walking on Clacton beach today where an angler had pulled in a eight legged starfish. It was possibly 12 inches across and it had smooth cream legs about 3/4 inch dia tapering to nothing I have seen many starfish but nothing like this , have you any idea what it is.
<Assuming not an octopus (!) there are only a relatively few starfish that size found in shallow UK waters. The standard one is of course Asterias rubens. There's also Crossaster papposus, another common species, sometimes called the Cushion Star. Less familiar (and typically deeper/colder water) species include Marthasterias glacialis, Solaster endeca, Astropecten
irregularis and Luidia ciliaris. Let me direct you to a couple useful sites, Marlin and Glaucus:
Without a photo, it's hard to be certain what you saw. Cheers, Neale.>
Be interested in your comments
Regards R Rawlinson

Star Fish Identification ?    12/18/13
Good afternoon ... I've been researching numerous web sites that show the immense variety of star fish types that reside along the Alabama Gulf Coast, and have been unable to identify the type I found on the beach recently.  Might you have an ID for this specific type star fish shown in the attached .jpg file?  Appreciate your time and attention ... Cheers!
Craig Harrington
<Mmm; appear to be Luidia alternata. Bob Fenner>

Re: Star Fish Identification ?    12/18/13
Thank you Bob ... appreciate your very timely response  ... Happy Holidays to you and yours !!
<And you Craig. BobF>

Starfish I.D      11/5/13
Can you please help with this starfish identification.
<Mmm, not from this pic alone; no>
  I am a golf professional and my tank is in my golf shop.  Mu members thought it would be nice to add a starfish while I was out of town
and I want to make sure it is reef safe.  I have look at the pictures and read about them on the web page but have not been able to positively identify.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm
and the linked Starfish ID FAQs files linked above. Bob Fenner... Would you say, ask more... re the inhabitant life in this system? Perhaps a cautionary remark concerning the star falling apart, polluting the system? Maybe something even more extreme, didactic for "advice?">

Sea star ID      9/23/13
This guy hitch hiked a ride on some live rock we purchased a few months ago. He has been growing slowly but surely. We recently upgraded our tank and shortly after the move I noticed he had lost an arm. I have 2 questions,  what sort of sea star is this,  and how likely is it that the arm will become another star?
<Might be a Linckia sp. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/Seastars3.htm
Re the other arm... maybe>
 I have included a couple of photos.  The arm is moving slowly around the tank and both the arm and the star are much more active at night. Thanks for your help.
<Use, search WWM and read re these animals. Bob Fenner>

Sea star identification help   1/28/13
Hello WWM Crew,
I would like some help identifying this sea star. It's about 2.5" to 3" from tip to tip, and pink with purple tips. The closest thing I found on the internet was a Chocolate Chip Star,
<I too think this is a young Protoreaster nodosus>
 but it really doesn't match the color descriptions given.
<Does occur in other colors>
 I also notice the lack of "chips" along each arm.
<These develop over time, w/ growth, size>
 It's been in a FOWLR for over 2 years, but 2 months ago I got a Long Tentacle Anemone and a few days ago a couple of beginner frags (Softies & Polyps) so now I would like to know for sure what type of star this is.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Sincerely, Mariel
<Cheers, Bob Fenner> 


Star ID    11/27/12
Hello, Crew!
I discovered a mystery star in my tank the other day.  Sorry the picture is so blurry, but the colours are purple and green, and the legs are fat!  I tried to ID it and it looks to me like an Anthenea aspera - cake star.  Is this even possible?
<Mmm, I think this is a member of the family Asterinidae. Please see here re:
 I think it is too colourful to be a biscuit star, though I did not flip it over to see if it's belly was white (I didn't want to disturb it in case it was very delicate).  It is definitely not spiny. It also has a white bump on the top which you can see in the
picture. It hides on the underside of a rock during the day, and comes out at night.  I tried to research cake stars all around the web, but can not find any literature on whether they are reef safe, and what they eat. Most of the literature comes from dives in Singapore.
Can you tell what it is?  And do you know what it eats?
<Do see the file/citation above and the linked Related FAQs above>
Thanks for your help!
<Welcome, Bob Fenner>

Starfish id! 7/10/12
Hey guys,
      Curious as to what type of starfish this is, had my tank running for over a year first time seeing it. Attaching a picture of it, sorry if it is not the right format sending through iPhone.
<See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/asterinaidf.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Seastar questions   11/30/11
I found this Seastar washed up on the beach in Hatteras, NC Sunday morning.
Can you please tell me what kind of Seastar it is as well as what it eats?
<Mmm, this may be an Asterias rubens... you can look up its habits>
I have a salt water tank with a hermit crab from another trip to Hatteras, NC 2 ½ years ago. Will the crab eat the star or vice versa?
<The hermit may eat the star>
  Can I keep them
in the same tank?
<IF the hermit is small, and/or not hungry... Bob Fenner>
Thank you,

Found starfish on live rock   5/5/11
Good Morning,
I started a 60gal tank with about 20lbs of live rock, sand and that was it.
After three weeks of cycling, I was told by the local reef shop it was OK to add three damsels and some more live rock. With this latest addition of about 14lbs of Fiji live rock, this starfish came creeping out after a few hours. He is about 5" across, orangish-tan. He moves around a lot, and has been in the tank
for about 12 days.
I have been on a few reef forums and cannot get a answer on what type of starfish he is. No one is convinced of why type he is. I need to know if he is reef safe or do I need to return him to the place I got him from?
I was told to seek an answer from a member on Living Reefs.
Thank you very much for any insight.
Kevin Blackstone
<Mmm, have never seen such an Asteroid before; nor is it in my ref.s. IF you'd like for our resident marine invertebrate identifier to take a look/see, re-size (no more than a few hundred Kbytes as we request) and resend your images and msg. and I'll post it to her in-folder. Bob Fenner>

Re: re: Found starfish on live rock   5/5/11
Yes Sir,
Any help you could give me as to weather I can leave him would be great.
I appreciate your quick response.
<Uhh, send your images re-sized... for LynnZ's perusal. I've deleted your too-large files. BobF>
Follow-up Re: Found starfish on live rock: Possible Echinaster sp. -- 5/5/11
<Hey Kevin, Lynn here this afternoon.>
Ok, will do. Try these.
<Thanks! Unfortunately, I've gone through all my sources and have not been able to find a similar star that's indigenous to the area around Fiji. My best guess is that it's something in the genus Echinaster, which includes a number of 'spiny' species such as the Spiny/Common Sea Star (Echinaster sentus) that's so common around Florida/tropical Atlantic. Adding to the ID difficulty is the fact that sea stars can vary to a surprising degree in color and morphology, often with localized variants. Overall health can also be a factor in that it can affect color. Your star may have started off as a dark red, orange, or even brown, etc., before it was transported. Please see the following links for more information and photos of Echinaster spp. for comparison:
Echinaster sentus: http://www.sms.si.edu/irlfieldguide/Echina_sentas.htm
More Echinaster spp.: http://www.eol.org/pages/71494 
The orange individual at the following link (listed as Echinaster echinophorus) looks similar but I'm not confident of the ID. Basically, it could be the right star with the wrong name but it does seem to point toward your star being in this genus. At any rate, the darker red individual (see thumbnail below photo) is more typical of the species. The other just doesn't fit -- at least not to my eyes. Also, I can only guess that if it is indeed E. echinophorus that the photo must have been shot from within a tank since you'd never see this species alongside what appears to be a Tridacnid clam in the wild (different ranges): http://www.meerwasser-lexikon.de/tiere/1072_Echinaster_echinophorus.htm 
As far as how 'safe' this star will be around your other livestock, I can only tell you that if it is indeed a species of Echinaster, it could consume anything from detritus and/or biofilm, to sponges, tunicates, clams or other sessile invertebrates. Keeping the star healthy could present a challenge, but if you wish to try, you might try offering it some meaty bits of marine origin (clam in particular). Do also keep an eye out for any signs of decline so you can get the star out before it causes any water chemistry issues.>
Thanks again!
<You're very welcome! I'm just sorry I couldn't have offered a positive ID! Take care, Lynn Z>

e: Follow-up Re: Found starfish on live rock: Possible Echinaster sp. -- 5/6/11
Thank you Lynn!
<You're very welcome, Kevin!>
This is curious. May I repost your info on the Living Reefs forums as those guys are wanting to know as well what he may be?
<Absolutely. One thing I'd like to clarify relates to the sea star listed as Echinaster echinophorus at the link I supplied. I do think it's an Echinaster species of some sort, I'm just not sure that it's E. echinophorus. Also, I wonder if the Fiji rock you purchased was kept in a large system with rock from other areas/regions? If so, the star could have arrived on rock from, say Florida, gone on walkabout in the tank, and ended up on your Fiji rock. I do hope you get lucky and someone recognizes your little fellow. If so, please let me/us know. I looked everywhere I could think of and could not find anything that matched in both appearance and locale!>
Thanks again,
<It was a pleasure, Kevin.>
<Take care, Lynn Z>

starfish id please   4/12/11
I've had my tank running for about 10 months now, it's a custom built 400 Liter tank
The other night with having a look at the tank with a flash light and I came across this star fish, I've had a good look around on the net to match a species but with no luck yet
Any ideas on the species? it's nocturnal if that helps
<Mmm, likely a Gomophia or Leiaster species... See here: http://wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm
Bob Fenner>

Unidentified 6 legged 2 or so inch starfish   1/18/11
Great website and thanks for all your advice and insight!
Last night during a bout of insomnia, I thought viewing our 250 deep dimension tank might help me snooze, it didn't work. In fact, what I saw helped me stay up later as I saw an unidentified starfish on our rock. We have numerous Asterina starfish, a pair of sand-sifting starfish and a orange serpent star fish. The guy was puffy, 6 legged and white with a little bit of brownish-green hue. My first thought that it is from the Asterina family but I thought they stayed very small. The only photos that I was able to take were horrible and with my cell phone. I attempted to take some additional photos this morning but when I turned on the lights it slipped back into the rocks. Any idea what this guy is? Thanks again and sorry for the bad photos!
<Unfortunately I can't make out much detail either. Do try to make better images... and send along. Bob Fenner>

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