Rocky reefs, kelp beds and inter-tidal zone
Visitors to the rocky shore of south eastern Tasmania will have seen these relatively common native seastars. They have an amazing variety of bright colour combinations of pinks, reds, browns, purples, greens and oranges. They grow to 5 cm in size and inhabit the inter-tidal zone and shallow rocky reefs down to 3 m in depth. Sea stars have hundreds of small tubular feet, which they can move by pushing water inside them. The feet are able to grip surfaces using a type of glue made by the starfish, which leaves a series of tiny footprints! In the centre of the underside of the starfish is a circular mouth which the feet can direct food towards. Eight-armed seastars are omnivores, feeding on algae, rotting plants and animals, mussels and other small marine creatures. The eight armed seastar is one of the few species that gives birth to live seastars, rather than laying eggs.