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The Blue Starfish

By Edited May 16, 2015 5 7

Most people have a pretty good idea of what a starfish looks like, but few people can imagine the beauty of the blue starfish. This creature has five arms and a fairly “standard” starfish look, except that it is a brilliant blue color. This sea life creature is also known as the Blue sea star and goes by the scientific name Linckia lalvigata. There are certainly larger starfish and crazier looking ones, but there is something really charming about this beautiful blue guy.  

What's the Blue Starfish Look Like?

The blue starfish has a small body with long rounded, tube shaped arms. It naturally has five arms. It is found in a variety of colors including aqua, purple, orange, and blue. However, it is usually a bright blue to a deep, dark, blue. Sometimes it even has spots on it. Often these are light spots on a dark background or dark spots on a light background.

This cool little starfish is about twelve inches in width, it has millions of tube-like legs along it's arms. This creature has five eyes, one at the end of each of its arms. It also has a mouth on the underside in the middle of its body and a stomach that it pushes out of its mouth.  

Blue Starfish on Reef
Credit: Richard Ling, Wikipedia, CC BY SA

Where Does the Blue Starfish Live?

The blue starfish is definitely not a rare fish. Instead it can be found from the east coast of Africa and throughout the Indian Ocean. The only place that it isn't found in these waters is the Red Sea. The blue starfish is also found all around Australia, the Southeast Asian Islands, and all the way to Hawaii. They live in the coral reefs and the grassy plains of the ocean and can sometimes be found in tide pools.  

The Blue Starfish' Life

Being a blue starfish can be difficult. The starfish moves very slowly using its tube-like feet or legs in order to pull itself along the rocks and ground. Additionally, it can move by pulling water into its body and shooting it out through its feet to float through the water. Neither type of movement is particularly fast.

The blue starfish is also home to parasites include the Thyca crystallina. This parasite has a scalloped shaped shell and attaches itself to the underside of the starfish. There it sucks of starfish blood. The ones that you see are females and each female has a male inside of her that feeds off of her. She then uses him to multiply. The starfish can have dozens of these small creatures attached to it and still survive.

In addition to being home to parasites it can also be home to shrimp. This relationship is a symbiotic relationship rather than a parsitic one. The shrimp are known as Periclimenes and they consume mucus and detritus that the starfish produces. They come in a huge variety of colors including bright pinks and purples, but the kind most commonly found on the blue starfish are those that blend in with the creature and are less likely to get eaten off the back of their slow ride.

There are several creatures that make common meals out of blue starfish. These include pufferfishes, triton snails, harlequin shrimp, and even sea anemones. Sometimes these predators only get a piece of the starfish. If it is just one of his or her arms then a healthy blue starfish will be able to regenerate the missing limb. In fact, blue starfish have been seen missing large portions of one and sometimes even two arms and still able to survive. While this creature can regenerate and does so in ways that are pretty amazing to use non-regenerating humans, they are much more limited than many of their relatives and won't survive a major attack.  

Blue Starfish
Credit: Amazon

What and How Does the Blue Starfish Eat?

This slow moving creature is a scavenger. It eats, pretty much anything that is dead that it comes across including fish and other sea animals and dead plant matter. However, in addition to eating these dead items it also eats algae and microbes that are too small to eat. To consume large items it pushes its stomach out of its mouth and wraps it around its dinner. It then uses digestive juices to eat the food outside of its body. Once it has been turned to liquid, the stomach is brought back into the body and digestion is completed. For small items, it is believed that the starfish collects them using its tube feet by filter feeding from the water.


Blue Starfish Reproduction

Not a whole lot is known about how blue starfish reproduce. However, it is believed that there are male and female blue starfish. They are thought to gather together and release eggs into the water. These eggs are then fertilized by the male or males and the float in the ocean. They develop into a larvael stage and spend awhile floating in the currents. The return to the reefs and grassy plains as tiny starfish. They are more green and less blue until they are about five inches in size and then they start to look bluer.  

Blue Starfish and Money

Few things in this world go untouched by mankind and our desire for money. The blue starfish is one of those things. It is sold in the saltwater aquarium industry as a reef tank creature. Young blue starfish are said to hide among the rocks and feed off of fish food, dead creatures that might be in your tank, and microbes as well as algae found on the rocks, corals, and sands. Older specimens are said to cling to the tank walls waving their arms in the currents with the hopes of catching some dinner. Many larger specimens don't survive and it is believed to be because of a lack of food.  

In addition to being sold as an aquarium fish the blue starfish are also collected and dried out for use in crafts and for inclusion in shell baskets. Their naturally vivid colors make them appear to be dyed without actually having to go through any dying process and without costing those who collect and or sell them any extra money.  

Dried Blue Starfish
Credit: Amazon

These beautiful creatures are very interesting and worth giving the time of day. They lead lives far different then our own and look amazing while doing it. Many of them look too bright to be true and their rounded arms give them a play dough appearance that appeals to adults and children alike.  



Apr 30, 2012 6:05pm
Great information about the Blue Starfish, and you show some really good photos. Thumbs up!
May 10, 2012 1:17am
Those are awesome starfish! Who would have thought there were bright blue starfish?

Great pictures, too.
May 10, 2012 8:38am
A very interesting read about the Blue Starfish. I enjoyed learning about how and where they live. Great featured article, congratulations!

I also visited "Marcus' Cool Animals," what a great idea and presentation.
May 10, 2012 4:48pm
Rated plus! These are truly beautiful beings. Thanks for sharing about them.
May 10, 2012 10:04pm
I never heard about the blue starfish before this article. Its kind of weird that the female stores a male with her to reproduce. Very alien. Is there a huge difference between the blue starfish and other starfish, other than a decreased chance of survival from attack? Anyway, great article! Very interesting.
May 12, 2012 5:11pm
Wonderful article about blue starfish. Feels yucky on how it digest bigger food. Beautiful and wonderful sea creature. Thanks for sharing.
May 12, 2012 5:11pm
Wonderful article about blue starfish. Feels yucky on how it digest bigger food. Beautiful and wonderful sea creature. Thanks for sharing.
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