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Commonly Asked Questions

Appears in Georgia Aquarium's:
  • Aqualab (Aquanaut Adventure: A Discovery Zone)

Range / Habitat

  • Brown spiny sea star occurs in the Western Atlantic from Florida and Southern Bahamas to the Northern coast of South America and the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Found on rocky reefs and sand flats, as well as man-made structures at depths of 0 to 130 feet (0 to 39.6 m).

Physical Characteristics

  • Like all sea stars, brown spiny sea star exhibits radial symmetry, and reaches a diameter of 4 to 5 inches (10.2 to 12.7 cm).
  • A slender sea star ranging in color from reddish tan to bright orange, with brighter color concentrated on the ends of the arms. Pale blue to bluish white on the popular areas between short dorsal spines. Feet, or podia, are orange. This star has a course textured appearance. 

Diet / Feeding

  • This species is often found scavenging off dead animals or in association with oysters, clams and snails. 
  • It will evert its stomach to digest food externally, but do not retract the stomach into the body with a food item. This makes it possible for the brown spiny sea star to feed on oysters and other mollusks that are attached to a substrate.  
  • This species does not always finish a food item, and may move off a food source after a period of time.

Conservation Status

  • “Not Evaluated” on IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Also known as small spine sea star, orange-ridged sea star, orange starfish, and short spine sea star.
  • Like most sea stars, each arm is tipped with a light-sensing eyespot, and lost arms will be regenerated as long as the sea star’s central disc is intact. 


Reef Creature Identification Florida Caribbean Bahamas. Humann, P. and DeLoach, N.