Common Name: Cushioned Sea Star
Scientific Name: Orester reticulates
Species: O. reticulatus
Orester reticulatus is a very interesting animal. There are so many things that just makes it unique and stick out from the rest of the starfishes. For example, Oreaster reticulatus is one of the most widely know sea stars in the Caribbean. Not only that, but they have a symmetrical body and five arms that are formed around a central disk. They can also grow up to 20 inches in diameter. Oreaster reticulatus are found in the bottom of the Atlantic Waters, from South Carolina to Florida, and can be found in depths of 3 to 120 feet.
The top part of their body contains thick heavy plates and has a gray, brown, tan, and molten green coloring. The bottom part of their body is flat with a shallow concavity near its mouth and is a cream or beige in coloring. Oreaster reticulatus move by pushing their tube feet along a surface. Their feet have suckers at the end which they use to trap prey and hang onto rocks. The only sea stars that don’t have suckers are the ones who live on soft surfaces like sand. Instead, these sea stars have long tube feet.
O. reticulatus are mostly carnivores and eat gastropods, barnacles, sea anemones, sea snails, and sea urchins. They also eat bivalves (shellfish) and sometimes even crabs, dead fish, and other sea stars. They eat pretty much any animal that they can get a hold of. They digest their food by turning their stomachs around through their mouth and then they digest their food inside out. When they are completely done they pull their stomach back through their mouth.
Author: Morgan J.
Sources: http://jrscience.wcp.muohio.edu/fieldcourses04/PapersMarineEcologyArticles/Starfish.FINAL.html>. 12 Feb. 2008 http://www.britishtowns.net/nature/07_specie_detail.asp?GetLSID=196595>. 13 Feb. 2008 http://striweb.si.edu/bocas_database/details.php?id=1251>. 14 Jan. 2008 http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/classification/Oreaster_reticulatus.html>. 22 Jan. 2008 http://www.seasky.org/reeflife/sea2d.html>. "Sea Stars." Ocean Link. 25 Jan. 2008 http://oceanlink.island.net/oinfo/biodiversity/seastars.html>
Photo Credit: http://florent.us/reef/carib/seastar.html