Red Comb Star

(Astropecten aranciacus)




Facts about this animal

The Red Comb Star is often incorrectly spelled as A. aurantiacus or A. aurantciacus, too. With an arm span of up to 60 cm it is he largest species of the family.

Its colour can vary from red-orange to light-brown, the ventral side with the tube feet is yellowish. The periphery of the five arms bears one row of large, 1-2 cm long, white prickles and several rows of small spines. The next inner row of skeletal plates carries two rows of small spines. The upper surface is arched and shows numerous red-orange to brown paxillae instead of pedicellariae for protection. The tube feet, on the ventral side of the arms, are conical without suckers but with an adhesive coat at the tip.

The Red Comb Star is nocturnal or crepuscular and feeds voraciously on molluscs. Spines around the mouth help to hold the prey. There is no anus which means that any undigested food has to be expelled through the mouth.

During the day the animal is buried in the sand and the disc is swollen in order to react if touched by digging deeper.

Did you know?
that comb stars can climb up a pane by means of there tube feet which have adhesive coats at the tips?


Name (Scientific) Astropecten aranciacus
Name (English) Red Comb Star
Name (French) Etoile de mer à dents de peigne/Grande étoile peigne
Name (German) Grosser Kammseestern, Roter Kammseestern, Roter Kammstern
Name (Spanish) Estrella de arena anaranjada
Local names German (add.): Mittelmeer-Kammstern
Italian: Stella di mare pettine, Stella pettine maggiore
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Roberto Pillon



Range In the Mediterranean Sea and in the Atlantic Ocean from Portugal to Sierra Leone and Angola.
Habitat The Red Comb Star lives on sandy ground close to the shore where it is buried at low tides. It can be found also in seagrass meadows and is distributed from the surface to 100 m depth.
Wild population Very common
Zoo population 0 reported to ISIS (2008)

In the Zoo

Red Comb Star


How this animal should be transported

The Common Starfish should be sorted by size and cooled down with ice bags. At the aquarium no temperature adaption is necessary.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Roberto Pillon