Astropecten aurantciacus is a sea star of the family Astropectinidae.
This beautiful red-orange sea star, with its five arms edged with prickles, can be found on the fine, sandy beaches of the Mediterranean
and the Atlantic
Habitat and behaviour
lives very near the coast, and at low tide it buries itself in the sand, showing only the centre of its upper side which is swollen in the form of a cone. This cone acts like a sense organ. When it is touched, the cone contracts and the starfish buries itself on the sand again. Then at high tide, the starfish reappears on the surface of the water. It buries itself in the sand to shield parts of its body from the rays of the sun, especially the bottom surface which has no coloured pigment and is therefore particularly sensitive.
This sea star is a carnivore
and feeds on molluscs
, which it catches with its arms and then takes to the mouth. The prey is then trapped by the long, moving prickles around the mouth cavity.