CHIMPANZEES COMING THIS MAY

Sea star--underside
Oceans

Sea Stars

About

Although sea stars are often called “starfish,” they’re not related to fish at all! Sea stars are invertebrates with radial symmetry and tube feet that help them move using water pressure. In their larval form, they swim using tiny hairlike cilia on their body.

Sea stars are often found under rocks or in crevices. Their mouth, on the underside of their body, has no teeth. When feeding, sea stars wrap their arms around their prey and push their stomach out of their mouth to eat their food. They’re toxic to some predators, but if captured, sea stars can drop an arm to try to escape. They can regrow lost arms—and even an entire new body from a single arm and part of the central disc of their body!

 

Size
Up to 2 feet or larger
Live in
Rocky or sandy areas of intertidal zones
Food
Microbes, invertebrates, animal carcasses, plants
IUCN Red List Status
Many species are Not Evaluated

Conservation

Many sea stars have not been evaluated for threats to their survival yet. Sea stars are a good species to monitor reef health. You can help protect ocean wildlife by choosing sustainable seafood. The Seafood Watch program can teach you how!

WHERE ARE THEY AT THE ZOO?

Bat sea star (Patiria miniata)

4–8 inches wide; Eastern Pacific Ocean.

IUCN Red List status: Not Evaluated

Chocolate chip sea star (Protoreaster nodosus)

Up to 12 inches wide; Indo-West Pacific Ocean.

IUCN Red List status: Not Evaluated