Royal Starfish (Astropecten Articulatus)

Royal starfish (Astropecten Articulatus)- The Ultimate Guide to Habitat, Diet & Facts

Royal starfish or royal sea star is a species of sea star. Royal starfish (Astropecten Articulatus) is one of the most amazing and beautiful species of starfish. The Royal starfish is also known as the Atlantic royal starfish or Royal sea star.

If you are looking for a sea creature that is beautiful, graceful, and fascinating, the starfish is a perfect choice.

There are over 2,000 different species of starfish and they come in a variety of beautiful shapes and sizes. They can be found in the deep ocean and shallow tide pools, so wherever you live there will probably be some kind of starfish near you to find and study.

The five-pointed star shape is common with many species, but some have as many as 40 points, while others are irregular-shaped or heart-shaped.

The royal starfish has five arms that start out thick at the base but taper down to a point at the end. The skin on its back is covered with tiny spines that are about 1/4 inch long. This unique spiny skin helps protect it from potential predators. The underside of this species has hundreds of tube feet that it uses to move along the ocean floor. A small mouth is located at the center of its body under its arms.

The royal starfish comes in many different colors including red, brown, purple, pink, green, and orange.

The common names for this species include moon sea-star, lunar sea-star, sunflower sea-star, sand dollar and chuckwalla. Their scientific name, Astropecten articulatus, comes from the Greek words for “star” and “prickly”.

It is one of the most common and abundant starfish species in the world.

Royal Starfish Diet

The royal starfish is a carnivore and feeds primarily on mollusks. This animal uses its tube feet to pry open the shells of its prey, and then inserts its stomach into the opening and digests the soft body parts. This species feeds mainly upon a number of different benthic organisms, such as crustaceans, mollusks, worms, and even other echinoderms. It also consumes many sea anemones, including the tube-dwelling species.

The Royal starfish is a very opportunistic predator and will consume almost any animal it can get its tube feet on. It is especially fond of bivalves such as clams and oysters.

The Royal starfish (Astropecten articulatus) has a very varied diet. They do not have teeth, but they use their tube feet. They cover the prey with these tube feet and then pull the prey towards their mouth. In this way they can eat much larger animals than themselves. Royal starfish feed on many different species of small fish and crustaceans.

Appearance & color range

The Royal starfish has a very distinctive appearance. It is completely covered with short, strong spines in a variety of bright colors. Royal starfish is a sea star that is not only quite colorful but also has a magnificent shape. The stunning colors and patterns of the Royal Starfish are among the most beautiful in all of the ocean. The rays have a length of up to 30 cm and are bright yellow in color. In nature, they can be found in the colors orange or green. There are even specimens with blue spikes, which are always very popular with hobbyists.

The body of Astropecten articulatus is round, so it looks like a plate. In the middle there is a circle of about 10 cm diameter, which is occupied with smaller spikes.

The mouth is located on the underside of the royal starfish and is surrounded by many small tentacles. The Royal Starfish has five arms, like most starfish species, but it also has longer spines protruding from the center of its body. These are called central spines and they are what give this starfish the name “articulatus”. Royal Starfish has a strong central disc that allows it to move across hard substrates and dig into soft substrates.

The color range is red, orange or purple but often fades after death to a dull grayish color

Habitat of Royal starfish

The royal starfish likes a habitat that is rocky and has a lot of algae growing on its surface. This helps camouflage the animal from its predators. The royal starfish inhabits a wide range of oceanic habitats. They can be found in the intertidal zone and subtidally to a depth of over 2,000 feet. They prefer muddy or sandy substrates where they are well camouflaged by their coloration.

This species is native to the northern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The range extends from Canada to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. It can also be found in the Gulf of Mexico, Bay of Campeche, Caribbean Sea, and Brazil.

The royal starfish has been introduced into several places outside of this range. It has been spotted in Australia and Japan.It is a benthic species, which means that it lives on or near the bottom of its habitat. The intertidal zone is where the water meets the land, and it becomes exposed during low tide. This area can be as small as a few feet wide, or it can extend for miles. The subtidal zone is always covered in water and never exposed to air, even at low tide.

Reproduction & Growth

The Royal Starfish is an annual breeder in temperate waters, but it is a continuous breeder at higher latitudes. Adults spawn from late winter until mid-summer, depending on latitude. The Royal Starfish usually spawns in February in the Mediterranean and between May and July off the coast of north-western Europe. In the English Channel, it spawns from April to June. The eggs are pelagic and are broadcast over large areas of the sea bed to avoid predation. They hatch into free-swimming larvae which live in the plankton for a month or so. The larvae then settle down on the seabed and undergo metamorphosis into juvenile starfish.

Mature individuals can be found all year round, but they are most abundant between April and October in northern Europe, with low numbers being recorded during the winter months. Adults can reach up to 20 cm in diameter, but 15 cm is more typical.

In the reproductive cycle of royal starfish, males and females release eggs and sperm into the water at the same time. The fertilized egg is then transformed into a free-swimming larva, which eventually develops into a tiny starfish. The larvae are planktonic and live in the open ocean for approximately a month before settling to the bottom of shallow waters. New starfish are able to feed within a couple of days, which allows them to grow rapidly.

They reach their full size in about three years and can live up to 20 years. They appear to have an annual mortality rate of 20% and experience low recruitment during years of heavy predation by crabs.

Behavior and Migration

The Royal starfish is solitary and sedentary, and it is also nocturnal. It is generally found in the intertidal zone, but it can be found subtidally in waters as deep as 50 meters. It has been recorded that the Royal starfish migrates to deeper waters in winter months, however, this migration has not been observed by researchers.

As they are sedentary creatures and do not travel much, they are territorial with other species of starfish and with individuals of their own species. They are usually solitary animals but we have seen specimens gathered in groups of 6 or 7 stars.

When it comes to its behavior, the royal starfish likes to be by itself. It does not like to stay in a group. As we have mentioned before, the starfish is a solitary animal. Although we can find some of these creatures in certain places, it does not mean that they are together. They do not get along with each other. However, there are some species that can live together without any problem.

The starfish has a migration behavior. They do not much travel but they move from one place to another depending on the season of the year or their needs. The migration is usually done during the night and always towards the surface of the water in search of food or shelter.

Aquarium Care tips for Royal starfish

The Royal Starfish (Astropecten articulatus) is a very beautiful and unusual starfish that is not often seen in aquariums. Royal Starfish has unique arms that are covered in spiky protrusions. Although its appearance is unlike other starfish, the Royal Starfish’s care requirements remain the same with some minor exceptions.

The Royal Starfish (Astropecten articulatus) will make a great addition to any reef tank. If you are looking for a tank cleaner that can handle just about anything, then look no further than the Royal Starfish!

This species is easy to care for and a great choice for a beginner or intermediate aquarist. Royal Starfish are very active and will spend most of their time exploring their environment and looking for food.

They are not aggressive towards other fish or invertebrates, so they make excellent additions to a peaceful community tank.

Tank Size: The first thing to consider when choosing any invertebrate is the size of the tank it will be kept in. A Royal Starfish tends to be pretty large, so you should make sure that it has plenty of space to move around in.

Lighting: The next thing to consider is lighting. As with most invertebrates, the Royal Starfish doesn’t need much light at all. You can have your lights on for as little as 4 hours a day, and this will be more than enough for your starfish.

Water Flow: Again, like most marine invertebrates, the Royal Starfish doesn’t like rapid water changes or currents. This is because they spend most of their time attached to live rock in an aquarium and don’t have the ability to swim away from strong current or water flow like fish do. So try and keep your pumps and powerheads aimed away from your starfish. You can place powerheads on the back wall of a tank to create a gentle flow across the surface.

Temperature: The Royal Starfish requires a constant temperature of at least 76F (24C). As with all marine fish and invertebrates, they are susceptible to rapid changes in temperature which can disrupt their metabolism and cause stress. If you have a saltwater aquarium chiller you should set it to keep the temperature around 75-76F (23-24C) at all times.

The Royal starfish needs a lot of algae and plankton in its diet, so having a planted tank is not recommended. No matter how much algae you provide for them, it will never be enough. The royal starfish will starve without some sort of additional food supplementation. For this reason, hobbyists sometimes keep corals in their reef tanks to provide the royal starfish with enough food.

Predators and Defenses

The Royal starfish has a lot of predators and they are found in all different levels of the ocean. There are lots of fish that like to eat the royal starfish, and one of the main ones is a fish called the Monkfish. Another common predator of the Royal Starfish is a crab known as the Cancer Pagurus. The most common predators of starfish are seagulls, crabs, and fish. They are also preyed upon by humans.

The Royal starfish also falls prey to various sea birds such as cormorants, gulls, and fulmars. In some areas, especially where there are dense populations of them, they can also be eaten by humans.

Royal Sea Star
Royal Sea Star

When it comes to defending itself from predators, the royal starfish has a very unique defense mechanism that involves using its tube feet. When it senses danger, it will use its tube feet to rapidly propel itself away from potential harm.

It can detach its legs if one gets caught in something and regrow them later on. The Royal Starfish is able to grow back any lost legs in around eight weeks if they have not been damaged too badly.

Royal Starfish can be found in both saltwater (maritime) and freshwater habitats at depths ranging from shallow intertidal zones down to abyssal plains deep beneath surface waters where there is little light available for photosynthesis by plants or algae on which these creatures feed.

Interesting Facts About the Royal Starfish

  • They can come in many different colours including dark purple, pink and light brown but they are most commonly found in a beautiful orange colour with white lines running down each arm.
  • The Royal Starfish has an exoskeleton that is covered in small hairs called spines and it has tube feet which help them to move around on the ocean floor.
  • It is called “royal” because of its bright colors. The body of the royal starfish is usually a brilliant red color with dark blue dots over its arms and central disk.
  • The Royal Starfish does not have a skeleton like other animals do. Instead, it has a hard shell called an exoskeleton that protects it from predators and helps it stay afloat in water.
  • The royal starfish resembles the sand dollar, though it has longer spines than a sand dollar and is larger than most species of starfish.
  • The royal starfish is also known as the ‘Royal Sea Star’, ‘Crown of Thorns’ or ‘Crowned Starfish’ due to its red body and large thorns.
  • They have tube feet that look like small suction cups on the bottom of each ray, which may help them to sense their prey when it’s too dark for them to see it clearly with their eyespots.
  • This sea star tolerates a wide range of salinity and temperature. They can be found in both freshwater and saltwater environments, but they prefer brackish water.
  • The Royal Starfish has venomous spines on its body, making it dangerous to people who handle them without gloves.
  • The royal starfish can easily regenerate lost limbs, much like other starfish species.

Royal starfish- Related FAQS

Q1. What is a royal starfish’s life cycle?

The royal starfish has an average lifespan of about 10 years, but some are thought to live for as long as 25.

Like most animals, the royal starfish undergoes metamorphosis during its life. The species begins its life as a tiny larva with no arms or mouth. As it grows, it develops the distinctive shape of an adult starfish and forms a mouth and five arms. After reaching adulthood, the animal continues to grow, but at a slower rate.

Q2. How big is the royal starfish?

The Royal Starfish grows to a maximum diameter of 30 cm (12 inches), but most specimens are much smaller than this, rarely exceeding 20 cm (8 inches). Female royal starfish are generally larger than males.

Q3. Are Royal starfish endangered?

Royal starfish are not endangered. Their population is abundant, and they are not facing any immediate threats. The biggest threat to the royal starfish would be climate change. The Royal starfish is a great indicator species for the health of its ecosystem. They have a symbiotic relationship with other animals and plants, an example being their relationship with coral polyps. The polyps provide shelter and protection to the royal starfish while receiving nutrients from them.

The royal starfish is not endangered, but it can be used as an indicator species to determine if there are any problems in their ecosystems. They are also important to their ecosystem because they keep algae growth under control, which allows other sea creatures to thrive, such as coral polyps and sea urchins.

Q4. How much does a royal starfish weigh?

The weight of a royal starfish depends on age and size but usually ranges from 50 to 150 grams. The royal starfish is one of the largest starfish in the world. At full size, it can weigh up to six kilograms and measure some 65 centimeters across. Its body is covered from the upper surface to the underside with a large number of short spines.

Q5. What does a royal starfish look like?

Knowing exactly what a royal starfish looks like can be difficult because these sea creatures come in a variety of colors. However, there are certain features that make them easy to identify.

The name “royal” is derived from the fact that this type of starfish tends to have a crown-shaped central disc, although this isn’t always the case. The arms can vary in length between 11 and 20 centimeters (around 4½ inches to 8 inches) and they usually have well-defined spines that extend along the length of each arm. The color of these sea creatures can range from dark brown through to purple or even orange, and they sometimes have distinctive black spots on their arms.

Q6. Are Royal starfish poisonous?

Royal starfish are not poisonous to humans, but they do have venomous spines that can cause severe pain if you make contact with them. The venom is similar to that of a jellyfish’s sting, so it’s important to avoid touching these starfish if you’re allergic to jellyfish stings!


The royal starfish is one of the most elegant species of sea star. It has an attractive physical appearance, and it is rather easy to care for. This makes them ideal for beginners. Their soft texture also makes them ideal for handling and petting. Compared to many other species of starfish, the royal starfish is relatively tiny. However, it does have a distinctive shape that should be quite recognizable. 

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