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Forbes’ sea star

Forbes’ sea star

(Asterias forbesi)

The Forbes’ sea star is found from the Gulf of Maine to Texas. It is probably the most common sea star along the coast of the southeastern U. S. It lives on rock, gravel or sand bottoms and is commonly encountered at low tide on rocky surfaces.

This sea star is a carnivore that feeds primarily on bivalve mollusks. It grips the clam or oyster’s shell with the tiny tube feet located on the underside of its arms and applies strong pressure to force it open. After creating even a tiny gap, the sea star extrudes its stomach through its mouth and squeeze it inside the shell. It then digests the soft body tissue of its prey, leaving only the empty shell.

Don’t miss the touch pool in the Georgia Explorer gallery where you can have a close encounter with our sea stars.

Fun Facts

  • The Forbes’ sea star is also called the “common sea star”.
  • When it loses an arm, a sea star will regenerate a new one at the site of the wound.
  • Sometimes a sea star will overcompensate and grow more than one replacement arm.
  • A sea star can move rapidly along the bottom by releasing its grip, curling up its arms and drifting with the tide.
  • Scientists prefer to use the term “sea star” rather than “starfish” because this animal is an invertebrate not a fish.
  • Download full fact sheet

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