A Guide to Identifying the Different Types of Starfish

Starfish, also known as sea stars, are fascinating creatures that come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Here are some common types of starfish:

1. Common Starfish (Asterias rubens)

The Common Starfish is one of the most recognizable starfish species. It typically has five arms, although it can have up to nine arms. It comes in various colors, including orange, red, or brown, and is found in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean and North Sea.

2. Chocolate Chip Sea Star (Protoreaster nodosus)

The Chocolate Chip Sea Star, as the name suggests, has a bumpy appearance with small, chocolate-colored nodules covering its body. It has a circular shape and typically has five arms. It is found in the Indo-Pacific region and is known for its vibrant colors.

3. Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (Acanthaster planci)

The Crown-of-Thorns Starfish is a large and venomous species. It has a spiky appearance, with long, venomous spines covering its body. It is named after the crown-like arrangement of spines on its upper surface. It is found in the Indo-Pacific region and can be a threat to coral reefs due to its feeding habits.

4. Blue Linckia (Linckia laevigata)

The Blue Linckia, also known as the Blue Starfish, is a striking starfish species with a vibrant blue or purplish color. It typically has five long, slender arms and can reach sizes of up to 30 centimeters. It is found in the Indo-Pacific region and is known for its ability to regenerate lost limbs.

5. Brittle Star (Ophiuroidea)

Brittle stars belong to a class of starfish-like echinoderms called Ophiuroidea. They have long, flexible arms that are distinct from their central disk, giving them a more delicate and elongated appearance compared to typical starfish. Brittle stars are found in various marine habitats worldwide and can come in different colors and patterns.

6. Sand Dollar (Clypeasteroida)

Sand dollars are flattened, disk-shaped echinoderms that are closely related to starfish. They have a hard skeleton with a distinctive pattern of five-fold symmetry on their upper surface. They are typically found in sandy habitats and are known for their unique appearance and delicate structures.

These are just a few examples of the many fascinating starfish species found in oceans around the world. Each species has its own unique characteristics, adaptations, and habitats, contributing to the diversity of marine ecosystems.