It is true sea creatures are amazing. Starfish is one of them and many people are interested to learn more about it. So, what do starfish eat? Well, before learning about their diets, let’s talk briefly about the animal.
Some people call them sea stars, which is based on the shape of the animal. These come in various sizes, shapes, and colors, as well. Commonly, they have 5 arms, but some have up to 35-40 arms!
The good thing is they can redevelop lost limbs and they can eat both small and large prey. Their unique stomachs are astonishing, too! As for foods, wild and captive starfish seem to have different preferences.
Wild Starfish’s Foods
Wild starfish are those who live in nature or open sea. They are known for their skillful and powerful hunting capability! Their prime targets are mollusks, oysters, clams, mussels, and other similar sea creatures.
Starfish aims prey that usually attaches to rocks or ones that can’t escape swiftly when being hunted. In some occasions, they also hunt injured fishes, small sea snails, sand dollars. These are alternatives, though.
Even though starfishes are known as meat-eaters, some of them eat plants! For instance, they may decompose plants on the beach or sea before consuming these. However, nutrition is poor from plants.
This explains why most starfishes would eat meats, which have higher nutritional value. Sometimes, when sources are scarce, they can eat coral, plankton, and sponges underwater. What a flexible eater!
It can be said each species of starfishes has preferred foods! Some of them have a scavenging behavior, while others are quite active and become a strong predator. Others have the same appetite as fishes.
In terms of majority, starfishes are mostly carnivorous predators. They look for sea creatures that live on the seafloor. According to experts, a starfish can eat up to 50 clams in 7 days! What an eater!
Captivated Starfish’s Diets
Due to their colorful and exotic appearance, starfishes often become a pet. This explains why more people buy and keep some in a tank or aquarium. So, what are their diets? Is it the same as the wild ones’?
Captivated starfishes have similar food preferences to those that live in the sea. That means they would eat mollusks, mussels, and clams. Have no worries. You can find these at local supermarkets.
To grow healthily, these captivated starfishes should eat properly and live in a clean environment. As extra foods, you can include frozen prawns, shrimps, and several algae, too.
Here is the thing. Each species has different eating behavior. Thus, you must learn the eating frequency before giving foods. Some starfishes can even go without foods for several weeks!
Other species need to be fed each day, though. Therefore, you must know the right schedule or routine first. Despite the trouble, watching them feeding and hunting at an aquarium is quite entertaining!
Another aspect of healthy captivated starfishes is the habitat. Simply said, it requires a large tank and has several rocks in it. As for the size, it depends on the number of sea stars stored inside.
How Starfishes Hunt and Eat
For the information, sea stars eat with their abdomen (where the mouth is located). So, how can they eat hard-shell clams, barnacles, and mussels? Well, they have a special way to eat these.
Once capturing prey or foods, they would wrap their arms around the victim’s shell. The next thing to do is to pull it open slowly. Next, they push their stomach and digest the prey right away!
This amazing feeding mechanism helps them to eat bigger prey, therefore. It looks like they don’t have eyes, do they? However, they do have eyes! However, the location is hidden and looks like a red spot.
Extra Information to Digest
Starfishes reproduce sexually, but it is different to tell them apart based on the sex. That means male and female are similar! When mating, each of them releases eggs and sperm into the sea.
Once fertilized, the eggs turn into swimming larvae and these may stay patiently on the seafloor. Later, after growing into adults, they can start eating bigger foods.
Even though they are good hunter, starfishes also have some predators. These include sea otters, several species of fishes, and birds. Even humans are dangerous to them!
Starfishes are unique sea creatures and have a special way to survive in the wild. Those who live in the sea usually crawl on the seafloor and float or swim when hunting. They also have a unique eating mechanism!
Some of them even become a perfect pet to take care of in an aquarium! Despite the fact, you must pay attention to several things like the size of the tank, foods, and feeding routine.
So, what do starfish eat? Both wild and captivated sea stars love to eat barnacles, mussels, clams, and other similar easy targets. These animals are rarely to move and attach to sea rocks, after all.