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Astropecten articulatus

Astropecten articulatus, the royal starfish, is a West Atlantic sea star of the family Astropectinidae.[1]

Habitat and behavior[edit]

The habitat of the Astropecten articulatus varies from 0 - 200 metres (700 ft) and it lives most commonly at the mid continental shelf around 20–30 metres (70–100 ft).[2]

Astropecten articulatus is found in the West Atlantic where it ranges from the United States (both the East Coast and the Mexican Gulf), through the Caribbean to Brazil.[1] It is one of the most common sea stars along the southeast coast of the United States.[3]

Description[edit]

Astropecten articulatus has dorsal granulose paxillae that are usually dark blue to purple and orange marginal plates with supermarginal white spines.

The five ambulacral grooves contain numerous ambulacral spines and tube feet. The mouth has a set of five jaws covered with spines. The color of the madreporite is light orange, and it has raised pores that connect to the water vascular system. The arms can reach 2–9 centimetres (0.8–4 in) in length.[3]

Astropecten articulatus has large orangish yellow marginal plates. It has short paxillae that give the aboral surface a granular appearance.[4] Its paxillar areas on the arms are about twice the width of the marginals and are very compact. Fresh specimens are usually bright blue or purple with yellow, orange, or white marginals.[2]

Feeding[edit]

The royal is a carnivore and feeds on mollusc/s, which it catches with its arms and then takes to the mouth. The prey is then trapped by the long prickles around the mouth cavity. Unlike other starfish, it swallows food whole.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c C. Mah & H. Hansson (2011). C. L. Mah, ed. "Astropecten articulatus (Say, 1825)". World Asteroidea database. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Perry; Larsen (24 April 2004). "Astropecten articulatus (Say, 1825)". Guide to Shelf Invertebrates, Gulf of Mexico. Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Leslie Sautter. "Astropecten articulatus". Publication of Project Oceanica, created by Leslie Sautter as part of the College of Charleston Transects Program. College of Charleston. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Pollock, Leland W. (1 March 1998). A Practical Guide to the Marine Animals of Northeastern North America. Rutgers University Press. p. 270. ISBN 0-8135-2399-0. Retrieved 27 May 2012. 

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