Red Starfish

(Echinaster sepositus)




Facts about this animal

The colour of the Red Starfish is a vivid red to red-orange. There are usually 5 (rarely 4, 6 or 7) slender, cylindrical arms connected to the small disc which are 8-15 cm long. The average arm span is 10-20 cm with a maximum of 30 cm. The ventral ambulacral grooves of each arm, carrying two rows of tube feet, can be closed. The tube feet have suckers, longitudinal retracting muscles and are erected by water pressure of the water-vascular system. The surface of the whole animal is armed with small spines of 1.5 mm length but which are completely covered by mucus of the glandular skin giving the body a soapy texture. There are also irregularly distributed elevations and craters with papulae which help for respiration.

Eggs are directly developing to young starfishes. There is no larval state.

The Red Starfish hides under rocks or is exposed.

Name (Scientific) Echinaster sepositus
Name (English) Red Starfish
Name (French) Etoile de mer rouge
Name (German) Roter Seestern, Purpurstern
Name (Spanish) Estrella espinosa roja
Local names Dutch: Oranjerode zeester
Italian: Stella marina rossa, Stella rossa
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
Albert Kok



Range Mediterranean Sea and eastern Atlantic Ocean from northern Bretagne to the Cape Verde Islands
Habitat In depths of 1-200 m (rarely to 1000 m). On solid surfaces like rocks or limestone made of haptophyte sediments. Occasionally on muddy and sandy ground and in seagrass meadows.
Wild population Very common
Zoo population 48 reported to ISIS (2008)

In the Zoo

Red Starfish


How this animal should be transported

The Common Starfish should be sorted by size and cooled down with ice bags. At the aquarium not temperature adaption is necessary.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Albert Kok