Purple Starfish Habitat, diet and care

Purple Starfish – Ultimate Guide To Care, Diet And Habitat

Purple starfish are sea creatures. Like all sea creatures, they come with their own set of challenges and quirks. And similarly, like humans, they have different personalities too.

Stylaster martensii is typically referred to as the purple starfish, but one of its other names, the giant-five-armed starfish, hints at how spectacularly its deep violet coloration stands out against most aquaria.

Purple starfish are starfish and are referred to scientifically as Pisaster ochraceus. It is distinguished from other species in its family by having between five and ten arms; it has a preference for living on hard coral reefs and rocky surfaces, though it can also be found on dead coral and live rock.

Purple starfish are beautiful, majestic creatures. They are just one type of starfish and yet so many people know of them. It can be hard to find certain information on them because they are a pretty new addition to the hobby.

Purple starfish is by far one of the most popular starfish. Starfish have many interesting and unique characteristics, including how they feed, how they move around, as well as the defense mechanisms that make them stand out from other typical marine life.

Appearance and Colour Range

Purple starfish are fascinating creatures that are favored for their colorful exterior and beautiful appearance. Having a pet purple starfish can be very exciting, but many people do not realize that they definitely need special care and diet to stay healthy.

Purple starfish are extremely common and can be easily found at any level of depth. Their color ranges from purple to red and yellow, however, their skin may also appear transparent at times. In the waters of the Caribbean ocean, these animals are popularly known by their Spanish name, Estrella Pez Vela.

Purple starfish have a wide range of colors, from pale purple and pink to deep purple, brown, and even green. Because of the color variety, it is hard to tell the difference between temperate and tropical species. The Purple starfish has a unique ability to change its color depending on the environment they are in or their mood.

Purple starfish have 5 or more arms (usually 7), which are covered in small spines called “pedicellariae”. They also have hundreds of tube feet that are used for movement, feeding, and respiration.

The size of a purple starfish is dependent on the species; some can grow up to 20cm in diameter, while others may only reach 1cm.

Diet of the Purple Starfish

Starfish are carnivores. They eat a variety of food. Sometimes, their diet is dependent on the food available in their habitat.

Starfish mostly feed on clams and mussels. They find their prey on the seabed and use their tube feet to pry open the bivalve shells. Then, they insert their stomach into the opening to digest the soft parts of the mollusk.

Starfish can also feed on coral polyps, plankton, and algae. Some starfish species have been observed feeding on dead fish and even other starfish species!

Purple sea star ecosystem
Purple sea star ecosystem

The Purple Starfish has a large mouth that it uses to consume its prey by pushing its stomach out of its mouth through its tube feet. They are herbivores and will eat any type of algae they can find. When they have the opportunity, they may also consume other types of small organisms,including mussels, tubeworms, barnacles, clams, and snails.

They have a strong sense of smell, which helps them find their food. Once they have found their prey, they use their tube feet to hold the prey down and pry open the shell. Their stomach is then everted from their mouth and inserted into the shell to digest it. The purple starfish can also feed on carrion.


The purple starfish can thrive well in various types of marine environments. They can live comfortably in the deep sea, nearshore, and sandy reef areas. If you want to find them in shallow water, like in rocky reefs, corals, and kelp beds, they are also a common sight. The purple starfish is a non-migratory animal, so they are not likely to move far from their original habitats unless they are forced to do so due to natural or human causes.

There are several factors that determine whether or not an area is suitable for purple starfish habitat, including salinity level, temperature, and availability of food sources. Like many other marine species, the purple starfish is very sensitive to saltwater pollution and rapid changes in salinity level as well as temperature. Those two factors can cause them stress, which will eventually kill them.

The Purple Starfish is found in all parts of the ocean but prefers warmer waters near the equator. They will move to deeper water when it gets too cold and then returns to shallower waters during the warmer months.

These starfish are mostly found on coral reefs and rocky shores, where there is plenty of food available and protection from their predators. They will also eat algae and other types of sea life that they find attached to coral reefs or rocks.

The Purple Sea Star, also known as the Purple Starfish (Pisaster ochraceus) is a marine invertebrate that lives in the intertidal zone in the Pacific Northwest also found along the Pacific coast of North America. It is the most common of all sea stars on rocky beaches throughout the region where it spends its time hiding under rocks during low tide and hunts for mussels at high tide.

Sea stars can be found in a variety of habitats, but they are most common in the intertidal zone and on the seafloor.

Reproduction and Growth of Pisaster Ochraceus

The purple starfish has two methods of reproduction: sexual (external fertilization) and asexual (regeneration). An ochre starfish reaches sexual maturity at approximately 1-year old, with most breeding occurring between 2 and 3 years old. The sexes are separate and fertilization is external; eggs are released into the water column where they float freely for several days before hatching into planktonic larvae.

Asexual reproduction occurs when part of a starfish breaks off from its body; this part may then regenerate itself into an entirely new organism or even multiple organisms, which can break off again to form even more new organisms. This process is called “fragmentation”.

The purple sea star usually reproduces during the spring or summer when water temperatures rise above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). When sea stars are ready to reproduce, they release their gametes into the water through their gonopore, which are small openings located behind their madrepore plates. The eggs and sperm join together in the water before sinking down to the ocean floor. Fertilized eggs develop into free-swimming larvae that eat plankton and other small organisms in the water column. After a few weeks, these larvae settle onto rocks on the ocean floor, where they develop into young purple sea stars.

The growth rate of purple starfish depends on their diet and habitat conditions. Under ideal conditions, this species can grow at least one inch per year until maturity (10-12 years). During their first year of life, purple starfish remains in tide pools until they are big enough to survive in colder waters with stronger currents.

Purple Starfish Predators and Threats

Predators include crabs, snails, and lobsters that eat them when they are young or small, but adults do not have many predators due to their size and hard exoskeleton (their protective outer layer). Sea Urchins also prey on these animals since they’re usually found near each other. However, some species will eat each other if food becomes scarce because starfishes don’t need much oxygen or food resources to survive, so they can survive in harsher environments than most other marine life forms!

The main threats to the purple starfish are habitat loss and pollution due to oil spills, which destroy their habitat and food supply.

Purple starfish are not endangered species, but they do have natural threats such as sea anemones, seabirds, lobsters, and crabs that eat them if they can get around their chemical defenses. Another threat to the purple starfish is humans who have over-fished them for their commercial value. Human threats include overfishing, pollution of the water, habitat destruction, and global warming. All of these are due to human activity and can lead to a rapid decrease in population or even extinction.

They have also been over-collected by amateur marine hobbyists for use in aquariums. Their natural predators are few, and their main defense against them is to drop a leg to distract the predator and allow the starfish to escape.

Where to find a Purple Starfish?

Purple starfish are not difficult to find. It can be found in the cold water of the Pacific Ocean and the warm water of the Atlantic Ocean. Purple starfish also live in the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea as well as a number of other places.

The purple starfish is usually found on coral reefs, but it can also be found in low rocky areas and on sand and mud.

They prefer cooler waters between 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit, but they can survive in temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. They tend to stay away from rocky coastlines and reefs as they tend to prefer sandy areas to feed on their prey.

Ochre purple sea star
Ochre purple sea star

Breeding Guide – What you need to know about breeding purple starfishes, Pisaster Ochraceus

Tank size
The tank where you intend to keep your Purple Starfish should be at least 10 gallons since they need large amounts of space to live comfortably. Please note that small tanks are not a good idea as these creatures tend to be very aggressive and territorial.

pH, Temperature, and Salinity

Purple starfish prefer pH levels ranging between 7 – 8.5 and temperatures ranging from 63 – 74 degrees Fahrenheit. They can live in both freshwater and saltwater but prefer saltwater with a salinity level of 1.023 – 1.025 specific gravity (sg).


Starfish require bright light as they are photosynthetic animals. This means they can survive on just light and water alone! Lighting should be between 55-60 watts per gallon of water in your aquarium. If it is not enough then your starfish will die off due to lack of lighting. If it is too much then you may get algae growth which makes it hard for them to breed properly.


The purple starfish is a very hardy animal and can adapt to a wide variety of water conditions. The ideal water conditions would be an alkaline pH of around 8.0 with a specific gravity of 1.023 to 1.025. The water may contain nitrates up to 20 ppm and phosphates levels of up to 0.3 ppm. They are not sensitive to temperature changes but will do best in temperatures between 70 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit (21-23 C).

Some Fun Facts about Purple Starfish

  • The purple starfish is one of the most beautiful kinds of sea stars out there. The colour can vary from a light lavender to a dark purple that is almost black. It has white spines on its body.
  • Purple Starfish don’t have brains – instead they have a nervous system which is spread throughout their bodies. They also don’t have blood but use seawater to transport nutrients around their bodies!
  • Starfish are not actually fish, despite the name. They’re echinoderms, or “spiny skinned” marine animals related to sea stars, sea urchins and sand dollars.
  • Sea stars do not have eyes. They do have simple eyespots at the end of each arm which they use to detect light and dark – but they can only tell light from dark, not see images or shapes.
  • Purple Starfish are not only a beautiful addition to your aquarium, they also provide beneficial services such as cleaning up algae and dead fish.
  • The purple starfish is actually part of the Asteroidea class. They have five legs that are usually arms. These arms have tube feet which are used for locomotion and food gathering.
  • The underside of each arm has rows of tube feet which have tiny suckers on them. These help them move, attach themselves to their prey, and also breathe by taking in oxygen through their tube feet.
  • They are sometimes called “basket stars” because their arms divide into two sub-branches, which divide again and again until the arm resembles a basket. This unique branching structure is used for feeding and respiration.

Purple Sea Star- Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Why are starfish purple?

The primary reason that starfish are purple is due to their diet. Starfish eat a variety of foods like clams, oysters, sea urchins, and other organisms found on the bottom of the ocean floor. They have adapted their bodies over time so that they can eat these types of food sources without getting harmed by sharp shells or spines, which might otherwise cut them open while trying to consume meals underwater. The purple starfish is typically more of a brown color with a purplish tint to it.

Q2. Are purple starfish poisonous?

The purple starfish is not poisonous. However, they have a mechanism in their bodies that allows them to protect themselves from predators and danger. The purple starfish can release a toxin into the water to make it difficult for predators to breathe. The toxin is called saponin, which is also found in some types of plants, including the soapberry tree.

Q3. What do purple Purple Sea Star starfish eat?

In the wild, purple starfish consume a variety of foods depending on their size. Large starfish can eat larger prey like bivalve mollusks and sea urchins, while smaller starfish survive off smaller food sources, like algae, tiny invertebrates, or dead sea animals. Purple starfish feed on mollusks such as clams, oysters, and mussels.


A purple sea star is an interesting pet to have. They will add color and interest to your aquarium tank and can make a good conversation piece. Purple starfish are rare, beautiful, and often misunderstood.

The Purple starfishes are bizarre creatures with traits that can be considered both species-specific and extremely adaptable. So Pisaster ochraceus is a marine invertebrate and an awesome choice for an aquarium. With the right consideration and care, your pet starfish will be safe and sound!

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