The Common Starfish is a thick spiny-bodied sea creature that has five arms extending from the centre of its body. It can be found all around the English coast in off-shore waters on sand, rocks, gravel and often on mussel and barnacle beds. Sometimes it can be found washed up on our shores. It is also known as the Sea Star.
The Common Starfish averages around twenty centimetres in diameter and is usually an orange colour, but sometimes it can be yellow-brown or violet. The arms of this starfish are broad at the base and the tips are quite narrow which are curved upwards when the starfish is active. On the top of each arm there is a row of spines and on the underpart of each arm there is a row of ‘tube feet’. Tube feet are fluid-filled muscular tubes with suckers that extend the body when the Common Starfish wants to move along surfaces and when it wants to feed.
The larvae of Common Starfish 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 go through a process called ‘metamorphosis’ which is the transformation of a larva to an adult. The Common Starfish takes its familiar shape of a star three months after hatching.