Our animals

Pincushion starfish

Pincushion starfish


LatinCulcita schmideliana
FoodHard and soft corals and sponges
HabitatCoral reefs
LocationPacific Ocean

Looks like a cushion

Unlike many other kinds of starfish, the pincushion starfish has very thick arms. It is able to puff its body up so much that it almost becomes spherical. This helps protect it from predators that want to eat it.

Lots of feet

The common starfish has a flat body with 5 arms. The lower surfaces of the arms have small tube feet. The tube feet are important for the common starfish: It uses them to walk, to hold onto things with them and open bivalve shells, and to eat the bivalves.

Slow eater

The common starfish is a slow hunter. When it wants to eat a bivalve, it encircles it with its arms. It separates the shell valves and inserts a fold of its stomach between the shells and secretes its stomach enzymes. This stomach enzyme weakens the bivalve and the common starfish starts to digest its body. You can see the stomach on the picture here.

An eye on each arm

At the tip of each arm, the starfish has a tiny red dot. This is a small eye. The common starfish can see the difference between light and dark but cannot see details.