Ochre Starfish (Pisaster Ochraceus) -The Ultimate Guide To Habitat, Diet, Reproduction & Aquarium Care

The ochre starfish is one of the most common types of starfish in our waters. The scientific name of the ochre starfish is Pisaster ochraceus. The Ochre Starfish (Pisaster Ochraceus) is one of the most common starfish species in the Pacific Ocean. It is also known as the ochre sea star, ochre star, Strawberry Starfish, purple sea star, and sometimes red seastar.

Pisaster ochraceus has been of great interest to biologists due to its ability to withstand high temperatures and its interesting habits. This creature plays an important role in the ecology of its environment. The Ochre star, also known as the Ochre sea star, is a very common sea star that is spread out across the world’s oceans. They are often called “the purple ochre star” because they vary in color from orange and pink to mauve and even purple shades. Their color can vary depending on what part of the country they live in (e.g., Northern California versus Southern California) or their depth underwater.

Appearance & Color

The ochre starfish (Pisaster ochraceus) has five arms, each lined with spines around the edges. It is usually brown or orange in color, but some specimens have been known to be as dark as purple or gray. The creature’s underside is usually white or yellowish-white. The ochre starfish resembles other species of sea stars found around the world, but it can be distinguished by its size and coloration. They have a rounded body shape with five arms and often have a rough texture on their skin that can be used to help identify them.

The appearance of Ochre Starfish is so interesting and attractive. They have a round body and five arms. In some cases, they can have more than five but the maximum number of arms is 40. The color of Ochre Starfish varies in different shades of yellow-orange to light brown.

Ochre Starfish are large in size. Their diameter ranges from 7 inches to 25 inches and the span of their arms is around 1 foot to 2 feet. It can be distinguished by its purplish-brown color with yellow spots on the top side of its body. This species has a bumpy skin surface.

Ochre starfish (Pisaster ochraceus) are also known as purple starfish, this common name comes from the color of their skin, which can range from pale yellow to brownish-purple. This coloration is due to the red pigment that their skin produces.

The Ochre Starfish is the largest starfish and has a pentagonal body. Its upper surface is covered with five large arms, each having a pattern of spiny tubercles and colored in yellow and orange. The Ochre Starfish can reach a maximum diameter of 3.3 feet. Its acute eyes are located on the ends of the five arms. The Ochre Starfish is covered with tiny tube legs that help it to move slowly across the seafloor. The Ochre Starfish has a mouth in its central disc which is used for feeding and respiration.

Diet And Feeding

The Ochre Starfish is a species that feeds on algae, in particular, the brown algae. They feed on algae and other vegetation which they find at the bottom of the water bodies.

The Ochre Sea Stars can also be found feeding on molluscs such as mussels, clams, and even on barnacles. They will pry apart the shells of such molluscs and then use their stomachs to digest them.

They are also known to feed on dead fish and rotting matter. The diet also varies with the species of the Ochre Sea Star because they have different preferences for food. The diet also depends on the size of an individual starfish.

It generally uses its tube feet to attach itself to the surface of any hard surface such as rocks, shells, etc. You can easily identify an ochre sea star if you find it feeding on barnacles.

The ochre sea star has the ability to inject digestive enzymes into its prey with the help of specialized pincers that are used for crushing its prey. Once the prey has been properly digested, this sea star absorbs all the nutrients from it with the help of its tube feet and other structures.

The ochre starfish is a filter feeder, but it also eats organic matter. It has tube feet that act like suction cups which are used to move the food particles into its mouth. In the wild, they feed on algae, bacteria, and detritus or dead organic material that settles on the substrate.

Like other starfish, they have an amazing digestive system! Ochres use their stomachs to digest food outside their bodies, excrete waste through their feet, and are able to regenerate lost limbs.


Ochre starfish are found in the Pacific Ocean, from Alaska to Mexico. They are quite common in rocky intertidal zones and can grow up to 16 inches in diameter. They also live in sandy subtidal zones, where they bury themselves deep into the sand.

The Ochre Starfish is usually found in the cold, temperate waters of the Pacific Ocean. The adults can be easily seen at the bottom of the sea where they are typically found clinging to rocks. Ochre starfish is frequently discovered in tide pools and can range from Alaska to Baja California. Their habitat also includes protected crevices and rocky shores that are exposed to strong waves.

Ochre starfish have a widespread distribution throughout the world. They can be found in tide pools and on rocky shores, but they are also able to live at depths of up to 2,000 m (6,600 ft). Ochre stars may be found from Alaska to Baja California, in the Mariana Islands, Japan and even South Africa. They live in areas where there is an abundance of algae or other foods that they can feed on.

Reproduction & Breeding Behaviour of the Ochre Starfish

The ochre starfish is a simultaneous hermaphrodite. They can breed with any other member of their species. However, they cannot breed with themselves, so it’s possible that they will have to migrate to find a mate. The breeding season is during the winter months and springtime.

The male ochre starfish releases sperm into the water. A female ochre starfish will then absorb this sperm and fertilize her own eggs with it. Once this happens, the ochre starfish will lay her eggs on a rock or other surface in the ocean. She will lay as many as 15 million of them! This number is quite high because only about one percent of these eggs will actually survive and grow up to be adults.

The Ochre Starfish can reproduce three ways:

Sexual Reproduction

Sexual reproduction occurs when one starfish releases its sperm package into the sea where it can be picked up by another starfish who then absorbs the sperm packet through its tube feet and fertilizes itself internally.

Asexual Reproduction

Asexual reproduction occurs when a starfish releases part of its body into the sea where it floats until it reaches another starfish. This arm attaches itself to the other starfish and grows into an entirely new starfish.

Cross Fertilization

Cross-fertilization occurs after one starfish releases its sperm into the sea where it is picked up by another female starfish who then absorbs the sperm packet through her tube feet and fertilizes her eggs internally.

If the ochre starfish has lost one or more arms and all the other arms have been reduced to stubs, it will be unable to feed itself and will eventually die, unless you intervene by feeding it yourself.

Sexual reproduction occurs in April or May when thousands of starfish can be seen in the intertidal zone during spring low tides. The females release their eggs into the water, which are then fertilized by the sperm released by simultaneously spawning males.

Once they hatch, they start their life as planktonic larvae and drift around in the ocean for several months before finally settling down on the seafloor as young juveniles (juvenile starfish are tiny animals that resemble small sea urchins).

Predators and threats

The main predators of the ochre starfish are birds and sea otters. The sea otters are more of a threat to these starfish than birds. The sea otters eat the ochre starfish by crushing their shells with their teeth and claws. Sea otters tend to eat them during low tides or when the tides are low. They also feed on them when they are in hiding places.

The main threat to the ochre starfish is the sunflower star, which can eat 40 or more of these creatures in a single night. The sea otter, which was once nearly extinct from hunting, is now also a threat to the ochre starfish because there are so many otters again.

The other major threat to the ochre starfish is the man. They are commonly harvested for food in Asia, and sometimes they are taken for use as aquarium pets. Another major threat to the ochre sea star population is climate change. Rising ocean temperatures cause sea stars to contract a disease called sea star wasting syndrome (SSWS). They start to lose their limbs and eventually die. Not only that, but people also kill them for food and as souvenirs. This makes their population decrease even more.

Aquarium Care & Setup For Ochre Starfish

The Ochre Starfish is one such species that is very hardy and easy to keep. This makes them perfect for beginner saltwater invertebrates. The ochre starfish is a real find for the home aquarium. It looks very unusual, so it will be a great decoration for any tank.

A good aquarium setup for Ochre Sea Star is a 30 gallon tank with plenty of live rock for grazing on algae. A good filtration system is required to keep the water clean and free from debris. When setting up their tank, it is important to give them a variety of hiding places to make them feel secure. A suitable substrate would be crushed coral or fine sand. Because they spend so much time on the bottom of the aquarium, they can stir up sediment if you use coarse sand.

The Ochre starfish is a saltwater species, so you must provide saltwater in the tank. The water temperature should be anywhere between 72-78°F (22 to 25.5°C). In addition, the water pH level should be between 8.1 and 8.4. You will also need to maintain a specific gravity of 1.023 to 1.025 or around 35 ppt (parts per thousand).

The filter system should be able to handle the amount of waste generated by these and other inhabitants in your marine tank. To help keep the ammonia and nitrites down, you can add live rock and/or live sand. This will provide more surface area for nitrifying bacteria to grow upon and also provide a food source for these bacteria.

The Ochre star is a peaceful creature that will not harm other tank mates but they may try to eat smaller snails or clams. These starfish do not do well in an aquarium with any aggressive species because they can be seriously injured or even killed by them. They prefer calm environments and have no problem getting along with peaceful species like clownfish or tangs.

However, we do not recommend keeping them together with smaller than average fish species or invertebrates such as shrimp or crabs. The reason is that these fish might mistake them for food and eat them if they are not careful enough. So, make sure you only keep them in a community aquarium where most of your tank mates are as big as your Ochre Starfish or even bigger!

These animals are very beautiful, easy to care for, and can help keep your tank clean! With a little bit of care, the Ochre Starfish can live for many years within a home aquarium and can become quite large.

Interesting facts

  • Ochre Starfish are considered as one of the most interesting species of starfish. The name ocher (or ochre) is pronounced as “ok-er” and it is derived from the Greek word “Okhros” which means “pale yellow”.
  • The Ochre Starfish is a marine invertebrate that moves around in an interesting way. Unlike most animals that have legs or fins to get around with, these creatures use their tube feet to move forward.
  • Each tube foot is equipped with suction cups that help them to stick onto their chosen surface. It is not uncommon for these starfish to stick onto your hand if you put it in front of one.
  • The coloration of this type of starfish rivals the splendor found on the most exotic fish species. The main body can be bright orange or pink while the arms are usually a mix of purple, green, and yellow.
  • The Ochre starfish, or Pisaster ochraceus has many names. It may be called the Purple sea star, Ochre sea star, Ochre Brittle star and sometimes by the name Blood star.
  • The Ochre sea star gets its name from the Latin “ochrus” which means pale yellow to brownish yellow. This is due to the brownish yellow appearance that can be found on the upper surface of the Pisaster ochraceus. The underside of this species is a purple color.
  • The ochre starfish, or Pisaster ochraceus, is a colorful species of sea star. Along with the sunflower starfish and leather starfish, it’s one of the three most abundant sea stars in the intertidal zone along the Pacific coast.
  • Ochre starfish are a little unique, but in a good way. Their size is manageable and they can adapt to a wide range of water conditions. These Echinoderms are also very interesting creatures and can be a great addition to your tank, but only if you’re willing and able to give them the proper care they need.
  • The lifespan of the Ochre Sea Star is roughly 35 years! This makes them very interesting to researchers, as well as others who want to observe them in their natural habitat or in an aquarium setting.
  • The most noticeable feature that makes this starfish stand out from others is its color. It comes in a variety of colors including orange, purple, greenish gray and brown. It also has 5 arms that are often covered with white spines.
  • Along with this impressive life expectancy comes some fascinating facts about the Ochre Sea Star. These animals are part of the Asteroidea class and have five arms, like most other sea stars. The underside of this starfish has tube feet that they use to move around and they also use them to assist with feeding.
  • The Ochre Starfish is a beautiful and popular marine invertebrate. They are also known as the Chocolate Chip Sea Star, the Sand Dollar Starfish, or even the Wana.

Ochre Starfish – Related FAQs

Q1. What is Ochre Starfish?

The Ochre Starfish is also referred to as the Ochre Sea Star. They’re common in rocky intertidal areas all over the world. The starfish lives in tide pools and intertidal zones up to a depth of 100 feet (30 meters).

They can be easily identified by their bright orange or purple color. The coloration, coupled with their size, will help you identify them. Their diet consists primarily of mussels, but they can also consume other bivalves, sea urchins, chitons, and barnacles.

Q2. Are Ochre Starfish Dangerous?

In their natural habitat, the Ochre Starfish are not dangerous to humans. But, there is a possibility of injury if you try to interact with them in the water. They are quite a gentle species and will not cause any harm to you. They do not bite or sting so there is absolutely nothing for you to worry about.

But, if you have a pet at home, and it comes in contact with the Ochre Starfish, things might get a little dangerous. The bites of these starfish are poisonous and can cause irritation in your pet’s eyes and stomach.

Q3. Why is the ochre sea star important?

The Ochre Starfish is important because they are a keystone species. A keystone species is an animal that is crucial to its environment. If this animal was to die, then many other animals would suffer as well. They eat a lot of mussels which would multiply quickly if there weren’t enough ochre starfish to eat them. 

Without the ochre starfish, there wouldn’t be many other animals for mussels to eat, so they would take over their habitat and starve other organisms with no food left for them to eat! The ocher starfish keeps this from happening by eating mussels themselves before they can get out of control and wipe out everything else around them!

Another way that the ocher sea star helps its environment is by eating urchins. Urchins have been known to destroy entire kelp forests by eating all of the kelp in one area. However, when there are too many urchins for them to look after themselves, then it becomes a problem for everyone else around those areas too!

Q4. How do Ochre sea stars survive out of water?

Ochre sea stars are able to survive out of water for several days, and they are able to do this by closing their body cavities. This is due to the fact that they have a very low metabolic rate, which means it is not necessary for them to be in the water at all times.

They can also survive in low oxygen levels, and if you ever want to take one home with you, then you will need to give it a little bit of water. Ochre sea stars have a diaphragm that is made up of a thick layer of muscles and connective tissue.

The diaphragm enables the sea star to breathe on land and out of water. Ochre sea star has five gills. In order to breathe, the sponge-like gills need to be kept moist.

Q5. Why is the Ochre Sea Star given the title keystone predator in rocky intertidal ecosystems?

They are a keystone species, meaning that they have a disproportionately high impact on their environment relative to their abundance. Ochre starfish play an important role in structuring rocky intertidal communities by preying upon mussels, which are highly abundant in many areas. This has cascading effects on other species that use mussels as habitat or food.

The Ochre Sea Star is given the title keystone predator in rocky intertidal ecosystems due to its ability to control populations of several species that it feeds upon through predation. It also has been observed that without this predator species these other species would flourish uncontrollably and ultimately have a negative impact on their environment.

Q5. Why are Ochre stars different colors?

Like other starfish, Ochre stars also come in various colors. They are mostly found in different shades of brown, orange, and yellow. The coloration is related to the color of the seafloor where they live.

The color of this species varies greatly depending on where it lives and what it eats. For example, red ochre stars that live in shallow waters feed on urchins and mussels while those living in deeper waters eat mostly clams and barnacles. The color of Ochre stars is determined by their diet. If they eat green algae, they will turn a light green color. If they eat red algae, they will turn a maroon color. They can also be yellow or purple if the diet is different.


Ochre Starfish is one of the most widely-displayed types of starfish in the Salt Water Aquarium hobby. Ochre starfish have become incredibly popular in recent years, as many aquarists consider them as one of the most beautiful species in the ocean. They are certainly one of the most challenging species to keep in captivity, but with proper care and sufficient knowledge about the species, you can enjoy watching adult ochre stars for many years.

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