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Starfish (Protoreaster Nodosus)Starfish (Protoreaster Nodosus)Starfish at Great Yarmouth Sealife CentreStarfish (Protoreaster Nodosus)
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Starfish Facts

Five groups that classify all living things
A group of animals within the animal kingdom
A group of animals within a pylum
Scientific Name:
The name of the animal in science
Protoreaster Nodosus
The animal group that the species belongs to
What kind of foods the animal eats
How long (L) or tall (H) the animal is
5-20cm (2-20in)
The measurement of how heavy the animal is
0.1-6kg (0.2-13lbs)
Top Speed:
The fastest recorded speed of the animal
12.8km/h (8mph)
How long the animal lives for
3-27 years
Whether the animal is solitary or sociable
Conservation Status:
The likelihood of the animal becoming extinct
The colour of the animal's coat or markings
Skin Type:
The protective layer of the animal
Favourite Food:
The preferred food of this animal
The specific area where the animal lives
Shallow to deeper coastal waters
Average Litter Size:
The average number of babies born at once
Main Prey:
The food that the animal gains energy from
Crustaceans, Worms, Sea Urchins
Other animals that hunt and eat the animal
Fish, Rays, Sharks
Special Features:
Characteristics unique to this animal
Long arms and suckers on their feet

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Starfish Location

Map of Starfish Locations


The starfish (commonly as a sea star) is generally found with 5 arms that are attached to a central disc. This central disc is the activity centre of the starfish and also contains the mouth of the starfish.

The starfish feeds on oysters and clams, the 2 stomachs of the starfish helping with the digestion of complex organisms. The starfish uses one stomach to begin the digestion of the food, and the other stomach to expand outwards and engulf their prey. Starfish can be found in the oceans all around the world.

Due to the slow-moving nature of the starfish, the starfish is preyed upon by many animal predators including fish, crabs, rays, sharks, humans and birds when the starfish are washed onto the shore.

The starfish has the incredible ability to regenerate itself into a new starfish, with a single lost arm attached to a portion of the central starfish body disc!

Starfish do not rely on a jointed, movable skeleton for support and movement (although starfish are still protected by their skeleton), but instead possess a hydraulic water vascular system that aids the starfish in movement.

The water vascular system of the starfish has many projections called tube feet on the ventral face of the starfish's arms which function in movement and aid with feeding.

Starfish can change their gender when it is convenient to them. The female starfish is capable is releasing over 2 million eggs at any one time, although the average amount of eggs that the female starfish releases is closer to 1 million. The eggs released by the female starfish are then fertilized by the male starfish and the fertilized eggs develop into larvae which are able to swim about. Starfish larvae swim for about three weeks before settling and beginning metamorphosis into the more common appearance of the starfish.

The starfish is today considered to be a threatened species of animal mainly due to habitat loss and pollution which are drastically reducing the starfish populations.

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First Published: 21st December 2009, Last Updated: 7th November 2019

1. David Burnie, Dorling Kindersley (2008) Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 21 Dec 2009]
2. David Burnie, Kingfisher (2011) The Kingfisher Animal Encyclopedia [Accessed at: 01 Jan 2011]
3. Dorling Kindersley (2006) Dorling Kindersley Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 21 Dec 2009]
4. Richard Mackay, University of California Press (2009) The Atlas Of Endangered Species [Accessed at: 21 Dec 2009]
5. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) The World Encyclopedia Of Animals [Accessed at: 21 Dec 2009]