The Common Sunstar is a thick spiny-bodied sea creature that has ten to twelve arms extending from the centre of its body. It is related to the Common Starfish and can be found all around the English coast in off-shore waters on sand, rocks, gravel and often on mussel and oyster beds.
The Common Sunstar averages around twenty-five to thirty-five centimetres in diameter and although it usually has around ten to twelve arms, it can sometimes have as many as sixteen. The tips of the arms have pink-red and bright red stripes running across them and the base of the arms are usually a yellowy white colour. The centre of the body is a brown-red colour. When this sea creature lies on the seabed, it looks the colour and the shape of the sun and this is why it is called the ‘Sunstar’. On the underside of each arm there is a row of ‘tube-feet’. Tube feet are fluid-filled muscular tubes with suckers that extend the body when this sea creature wants to move along surfaces and when it wants to feed.
The larvae of Common Sunstar hatch out of eggs directly into the water where they first become part of zooplankton. After three weeks the larvae settle on the seabed to develop into adult Common Sunstars.