Mediterranean Red Sea Star – Echinaster sepositus
The Red Starfish, also known as the Purple Starfish, Mediterranean Red Sea Star or Blood Star, is a species in the class of starfish and thus belongs to the echinoderms. Echinaster sepositus was first described by Retzius in 1783.
Description, Anatomy & Characteristics
Echinaster sepositus has a strong orange to red colouring.
Usually the Purple Starfish has five arms and a small body disk. Due to predators, it can also be fewer arms, in rare cases more, but not more than seven.
On the underside of its body disk is the mouth.
In its soapy body surface are regular depressions with small black spines. These are only 1.5mm long.
At the bottom of each arm it has two rows with suction feet.
The Mediterranean Red Sea Star reaches a diameter of up to 25cm.
Habitat & Distribution
The Red Starfish lives on rocky, sandy or muddy ground or in seagrass meadows, up to 1000m depth.
When scuba diving on the Canary Islands you can often observe the Purple Starfish.
In addition, its distribution area extends from Great Britain, along the European coast, on Madeira all the way to the Cape Verde. It is also found in the Mediterranean Sea. It is actually one of the most common starfish in the Mediterranean, although it is completely absent in some places.
Biology, Feeding & Developement
Developement from an egg to a small Red Starfish
Echinaster sepositus feeds on algae.
The eggs of the Mediterranean Red Sea Star are also red. They do not live through a larval stage, but are immediately small starfish.
One of the predators of the Red Starfish is the Atlantic Triton Trumpet.