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FAQs about Sea Star Identification 4

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, Seastar ID 5, Seastar ID 6 & 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,

Can you identify this sea star?  Fromia indica  3/31/07 I took this picture in the Great Barrier Reef recently <Wish I was there!> and I'm curious what kind of sea star this is.   I can't find it in my reef identification book:  http://www.pbase.com/image/76435956 <Does look to me like a Fromia indica.  More here:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/seastars.htm and links in blue.>      Thanks.
<Welcome.  Mich>
Doug Sturgess

Oreaster reticulatus...?  (Protoreastor I Think) - 02/28/07 Hello, <<Howdy>> I am in search of some Sea star identification.  A photo of the sea star that I have is attached. <<Ah yes...good photo...and a beautiful starfish>> It is currently living in a reef environment (20 gallon). <<Not a reef-safe specimen>> At first, I thought it might be the non-reef safe Bahama sea star. <<This one is a different genus I think (Protoreastor), but just as non-reef-safe>> All of the photos and descriptions I have found, however, describe it as red in color. <<Mostly, yes>> In addition, color aside, the spikes on mine appear larger, less abundant, and further spaced apart than the typical Bahama sea star photos I've seen.  Any ideas on what this little 3" guy might be? <<I don't think yours is a Bahama sea star (Oreaster reticulatus), it looks more to me like a Protoreastor species...perhaps a variant of P. lincki>> Thank you in advance for any help! Christopher Buehler <<Hope I've been helpful.  Eric Russell>>
Re: Oreaster reticulatus...?  (Protoreastor I Think) - 02/28/07 Well that's another thing.  I have searched for photos of the species you have suggested and I still cannot seem to find any sort of photo for it to confirm.  Any ideas? <<Nothing short of a trip to a large university library for some research...though even then, your sea star could be a geographical variance of a common species and not habitually photographed/easily found>> <<Eric Russell>>

Re: Oreaster reticulatus...?  (Protoreastor I Think) - 03/02/07 I have another question for you regarding this starfish (see your response below). <<Ok...shoot>> You say he is not reef safe. <<Yes>> I won't be able to get him to a better home until the end of next week.  I have been keeping an eye on him and so far he just cruises around the bottom of the tank and doesn't seem to be bothering anything. <<Mmm...for now>> What kind of problems should I be out on the lookout for with this little guy? <<Protoreastor species will eat sessile invertebrates, becoming more destructive as they grow/mature.  But feeding this small star a few pieces of meaty foods of a saltwater origin (fresh/frozen shrimp, clam, scallop...from the local grocer) over the next week "may" keep it away from your corals until you can relocate it>> Thank you. <<Happy to assist, Eric Russell>>

Starfish ID (Fromia sp.?) - 02/28/07 Can you identify this starfish? <<Looks like a species of Fromia to me>> I thought that it is a Burgundy Linckia Sea Star.  Is it? <<I don't believe it is, no>> Thanks. <<Welcome>> Hope that the photos can help you to identify.  Or is it a Nardoa species? <<Another possibility...try a search of the net re these genus names (Fromia, Nardoa) and see what you think>> Is it Reef safe?
<<Is likely so.  EricR>>
Re: Starfish ID (Fromia sp.?) - 03/01/07 Thanks for your help and I have identified the starfish. <<Excellent!...and you are welcome>> It's a Fromia indica. <<Neat...thought it might be>> It looks different in different region. :) Or it may be a subspecies of it. <<Possibly... EricR>>

R2: Starfish Identity, RX  - 03/02/07 Sorry about the mistake.  I made a mistake. <<...?>> It's actually a Nardoa galatheae. <<Ah okay, no worries...you are in the best position to tell>> They look a bit similar but actually are not. <<Agreed>> It's a Nardoa star and it eats algae and detritus. <<Excellent>> It can also help you to eliminate SPS eating starfishes. <<Really?>> :) Have a nice day. <<Same to you>> It's doing great in my tank now. <<Is a beautiful specimen, do enjoy.  Eric Russell>>

Red Thorny/Knobby Star (Echinaster echinophorus) Best Left in the Ocean.   2/22/07 Hi Bob, <Hi K.B.!  Mich with you tonight.> My compliments to you and your staff for the great job you do and your dedication to education with regard to marines. <Thank you for your kind words.  It is nice to be appreciated.> Quick identification question for you.  Attached are a couple pics of a red thorny/knobby star that I'm told is reef-safe.  I've searched the web for this star and have found many similar but cannot confirm its species.  Would you be so kind as to identify the species and whether or not it is reef-safe? <Does appear to be Echinaster echinophorus which has a poor survival rate in captivity.  It is believed that the natural diet is comprised of sponges, but have read reports of it eating meaty foods in captivity.  Reports to be reef safe, but short lived.>    Many, <You're welcome!  -Mich>
Re: Red Thorny/Knobby Star (Echinaster echinophorus) Best Left in the Ocean.   2/22/07 Thanks Mich.  I found what I thought was this star in my research, and I trust now that it was judging by the information you provided here. <Glad to help.> Thanks again.
<You're welcome.  -Mich>

Starfish ID   2/11/07 <Hi Kevin, Mich here again.> Hmm, I sent 2 pictures but only 1 much of went through? <My bad.  Sorry!  The second photo did not come up on my computer, but must have been accessible to others as it has been posted on today's FAQ's.  My apologies!> Let me try and send you it again. It's a front view but not super close up. It has 6 legs. <I do think this is a Linckia species, which generally don't do very well in captivity.  Some reddish looking linckia, typically speckled, not solid red (Linckia multifora) may do better than the Blue Linckia (Linckia laevigata).   Thanks
<Welcome!  -Mich>

Starfish Id ...Photo of Underside ...More Conscientious in the Future - 02/11/2007 <Hi Kevin! Mich here.> I bought this starfish the other day from the LFS and they didn't know what kind it is. It has 6 legs and looks similar to Linckia so it has been assumed that it is reef safe. <Assumed!?!?  Better to know, than to assume.> <<Sabrina F here, pointing out the fang blennies that look like cleaner wrasses, but most assuredly do not have the same feeding behaviors....  -SCF>> Is it reef safe? <Can't tell from looking at it's backside.> Will it harm my T. Crocea clam ? <Hopefully not, but a picture showing it's front side would be much more helpful.> I really don't want anything to happen because of this new starfish. <My friend, I urge you to use this situation as a learning experience.  In the future I would suggest you be more conscientious and know the care requirements and compatibility issues before making any purchases.  There are many starfish that don't do well in captivity.  For many, the nutritional requirements are poorly understood and the beautiful creatures slowly starve.>      Thanks
<Welcome.  -Mich>

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