For someone who likes starfish, you must be curious about what starfish eat. Though it's commonly known as "starfish," they are not fish. Instead, Starfish are related to sand dollars and sea urchins. They can only live in saltwater, but not in freshwater. That's why many marine biologists would like to replace its name with sea stars.
So, what do starfish eat? First, you should know that they are mostly scavengers and carnivores. Other species are omnivores, making you very curious about what they eat. That’s why in today's blog, you will understand more about what starfish eat, depending on their species.
Understanding Starfish Eating Habits
Starfish as Carnivores
If you like going to beaches, perhaps you've seen starfish in the sea. Since starfish thrive in saltwater, we can't help but think about what they eat. These sea creatures are not the same as other aquatic creatures in how they regenerate, move, or eat. Despite having no bones or brains, starfish come with plenty of fascinating characteristics.
They have a complex nervous system, the ability to see using their arms since each or their arm comes with an eyespot, and lastly, the ability to expel their stomach. This wrapping of stomach ability is what they use for their prey and digest it. So, what do starfish eat? It very much depends on the species, like what was mentioned above. Some may be predators, while some are scavengers – but for sure, they have the same diets as fish.
And since most starfish are carnivores, it means that they eat other animals. It is their nature to be slow. That’s why they also eat slow-moving animals. They feed on sponges, coral, and mussels since these creatures are usually attached to rocks and known to move slowly. Starfish eat fish too, especially if they are in pain and unable to move in time.
A Detailed List of What Do Starfish Eat
In this section, you will have a deeper understanding of what starfish eat and their kind of diet. The food they eat is based on the species. That’s why we’re giving you a list of starfish species, along with what they eat.
Pacific Blood Starfish
This starfish species is known to many as Blood Star. It has five slender and long arms and inhabits most of the time in coastal waters. They are usually found on or under the rocks of coastal waters. And when it comes to what they eat, the Pacific Blood Star feeds on planktons, sponges, and bacteria in the wild.
The largest of all sea stars is the Sunflower Starfish. It is notable for its highest number of arms, unlike the other species. The Sunflower Starfish is also known to be the heaviest of all starfish, and you can find them usually in coastal and intertidal zones of the marine waters. That said, they eat gastropods, sea cucumbers, crustaceans, clams, sea urchins, mussels, and of course, fish.
The Leather starfish is known for the red-brown and orange streaks on its body. Their skin is smooth and slimy and predates on sea sponges, cucumbers, chitons, sea pens, fish eggs, hydroids, and sea urchins. Furthermore, the Leather Starfish has a big distribution in the Pacific coastal seas of North America. It inhabits marine waters, most especially in the depths and intertidal zone.
Egyptian Sea Starfish
You can usually find Egyptian Sea Starfish in the Indian Ocean and stay in the coastal waters and coral reefs most of the time. This species is known for its sharp spikes that line in top surfaces. It has a range of hues that include red and orange. Furthermore, the Egyptian Sea Starfish are omnivores, so they eat slow-moving organisms like snails and sponges. And they usually eat algae too.
This starfish species needs to be fed directly through the sand bed. Any food like mollusks, urchins, and shrimp will feed them. However, they could quickly clear out excess food and waste. Furthermore, they need supplementation, or else they just keep on starving.
The Linckia Starfish does not need a whole lot of supplemental diet. Most especially when they are introduced into a well-established aquarium. However, if they need supplementation, all they need are tablets or clam meat placed underneath them.
Starfish in Aquarium: What Do They Eat?
You should be aware that their diets depend on the wild for someone like you who loves collecting starfish or has a pet starfish. It’s a closed system that every owner must develop and be keen about. The starfish needs to be fed every two to three days and must be kept by experts. In addition, you should know that starfish pets are complicated to raise, and they must be given advanced care.
It’s easy to tell if your starfish is hungry when you have a starfish pet. You only have to put a piece of food where your starfish can easily access and will gorge down in short order. And if you’re thinking that feeding a starfish in an aquarium is difficult, the truth is, it’s not. You only need to simply put the food near them if you need to.
You need to place the starfish directly on the food and ensure that your starfish gets food rather than another living creature in the aquarium. Though some species eat other critters or stocked corals, it is important to train them what to eat. Furthermore, starfish are also nocturnal, but they can easily adapt to feedings during the daytime as long as you thoroughly researched their diets before introducing them to aquariums.
It’s interesting to know what our favorite creatures eat, especially when you plan to pet them. Just like starfish, they are one of the fascinating creatures because of their star-shaped appearance. Thus, many starfish lovers are eager to know what starfish eat.
In the end, it’s all about taking care of them that matters the most. Feeding them is one way of showing that you care for these creatures.
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