1. Starfish aren’t fish! They are echinoderms, invertebrates, and are related to sea urchins and sand dollars.
2. If an arm of a starfish becomes detached, it can grow a new one (though it might take up to a year to grow)!
3. To eat, a starfish spits out its stomach and digests whatever it’s eating (like a mussel or snail) on the outside of its body. Then it sucks back in its stomach to finish digesting.
4. There are 1,600 kinds of starfish in the ocean. They range in color from red, orange, brown (there’s a chocolate chip sea star), purple, yellow and more!
5. The tube feet of a starfish are amazing. They create suction by sucking in seawater. The tube feet help the sea star move, and manipulate its prey.
6. A starfish can live up to 35 years.
7. Starfish are eaten by other sea stars, fish, manta rays and sharks.
8. Not all starfish have 5 arms, some have up to 24 arms, like the sunflower sea star!
9. The crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) is found in the Indo-Pacific and outbreaks of them cause damage to coral reefs. COTS eat exclusively coral polyps and cause the coral to turn white and die. The COTS cause almost as much damage as coral bleaching, like on the Great Barrier Reef off Australia.
10. Starfish have no brain, no blood and no central nervous system. They can “see” with eyes on the end of their arms. These eyes sense light and dark.
For more facts, visit Nat Geo Kids Starfish Facts
For more on the sunflower sea star, visit Monterey Bay Aquarium Animals A-Z
Ever wonder what kind of sea star Peach from Finding Nemo is? Visit The Real Fish of Finding Nemo