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Method of Feeding

Asterias rubens is both a predator and a scavenger.

Types of Prey
Asterias rubens feeds on a wide variety of organisms, but the most common are mollusks, aquatic annelids, small crustaceans, dead fish, and other echinoderms.

Asterias rubens will essentially eat anything it can get its arms on!

A group of Asterias rubens eating a dead fish


Photo courtesy of Dirk Schories at http://www.guiamarina.com/

Methods of Ingestion

A starfish using its tube feet to pry open a mussel

Asteroids eat in a very unique way. Sometimes they will eat the "normal" way, which is to say that the food will enter the mouth and be digested internally. However, Asterias rubens commonly inserts its stomach into its prey to digest it. This method is most commonly seen when the sea star is eating a mussel or small crustacean. It can fit its stomach into an opening that is less than 0.1 mm! In this situation, the tube feet suction onto the prey and help to assist in creating that small opening.

Photo courtesy of Rich Galiano at http://www.njscuba.net/index.html


Send questions or comments to richards.mic2@students.uwlax.edu