Red Cushion Starfish: Everything you need to know about this species

The Red Cushion Starfish are also known as West Indian Sea Star, or Oreaster Reticulatusin scientific terms. This echinoderm belongs to the Oreasteridae family.

Red cushion starfish on sandy ocean floor, Dominican Republic

This species of starfish has about 5 broad arms (even 7 arms in some occasions); which project from a broad cushioned disc.

Red Cushion Starfish General Description

The Red Cushion Starfish is easy to differentiate from other species; since its ventral disk is considerably elevated, which gives it its characteristic appearance.

The strong constitution of this starfish , which is covered by blunt spines; is another of its most distinctive features.

In terms of coloration the red cushion starfish  present a wide variety, even if they are individuals belonging to the same population, that is, they have developed in the same group.

In the youngs red cushion starfish , shades like green, brown, cinnamon and sometimes gray, can be appreciated; and when they reach their adult stage  the yellow, and the orange colors can also be observed. So, it can be said that these creatures are characterized by their warm and intense colors.

On the other hand; what refers to the ventral surface of the red cushion sea star, it has light colors both at juvenile and at adult stage.

It is important to note, that the reference to differentiate a red cushion starfish in its adult or juvenile stage; is linked to its size, since less than 8 centimeters in diameter is considered the measure attributed to an individual in juvenile stage, while adults usually exceed 8 centimeters.

The Red Cushion Habitat And Distribution

As far as the distribution of the red cushion sea star, they are mainly found in the waters belonging to both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, such as The Cape Verde Island, Cape Hatteras of North Carolina and up to Florida. Regarding their habitat, the red cushion starfish usually inhabit in shallow waters of no more than 70 meters deep. However, these sea stars tend to make migrations during winter, towards offshore locations in order to avoid water turbulence.

Starfish in general are known by inhabiting in the seabed, but in the case of the red cushion starfish, they usually inhabit bottoms with soft sand.

The red cushion sea stars are usually located, in those places where they can find the food and nutrients they require, to satisfy their needs.

Alimentation Habits Of The Red Cushion Starfish

Regarding their alimentation habits, these starfish are considered omnivorous, which means they eat both animals or plants. Sponges, epiphytic algae, invertebrates and even the sediment of the seabed can be mentioned as the main ingredients of the diet of these sea stars.

Among other not that common ingredients of their diet, polychaete worms and some crab larvae can also be mentioned.

In general, regarding the alimentation habits of the red cushion starfish it is also important to point out, that these animals are not usually skilled food hunters. Thus, their diet is based on the available organisms in their habitat.

There is no doubt that the sea can delight us in different ways, enchanting and enigmatic animals such as whales and dolphins, algae and tuna fish and all their nutritional properties, and the colorful and fascinating starfish ….

Finally, we want to share this video with you……

 

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