Eight-armed seastar

Eight-armed seastar
Image: Kris McCracken
Community type

Intertidal reef organisms

Habitat type

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.

Much of the text within the species area of our website was written by Veronica Thorpe, as part of the Derwent River Wildlife Guide (2000).

The DEP has developed a variety of classroom and outdoor activities focused around the key estuary habitats of tidal wetlands, salt marshes and rocky reefs. These include classroom materials, online resources, interpretive walks, games and sensory experiences.