Astropecten aranciacus

Astropecten aranciacus is a species of starfish that is classified within the Astropectinidae family. This species can be found in many areas including the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It prefers coastal habitats with muddy terrain, living at depths between seven and three hundred feet. This species can reach an average diameter of twenty-two inches, although its common size is about twelve inches. Its arms are narrow and pointed at the ends, and hold between one and three spines, as well as inferomarginal plates. These are red in color near the base and whitish yellow at the tip.

Astropecten aranciacus is active during the late afternoon and nighttime hours, preferring to bury its body in the sand to avoid the heat of the day. While it is buried in the sand, the only area of its body that is visible is the center of its disk, which resembles a cone. This species consumes its prey, mainly mollusks, by moving it to the center of its body, where it becomes trapped in the small spines along the mouth opening.

Image Caption: Astropecten aranciacus. Credit: Rpillon/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)