What Do Brittle Stars Eat?


Brittle stars are omnivores; they feast on organic plant matter, detritus and small animals like fish and krill as well. Brittle stars are closely related to sea stars; they are marine animals that have hard, spiny shells and multiple limbs. Like their larger relatives, brittle stars live and feed on the ocean floor; they move along at a very slow pace, and they essentially act as street cleaners by picking up and ingesting whatever suitable food comes their way.

Brittle stars, like shellfish and other aquatic organisms, are primarily bottom feeders. They consume tiny scraps of decaying plant matter, such as decomposed bits of seaweed, algae and the remains of ocean-dwelling vegetation. These creatures also eat plankton and other varieties of organic matter, including bits of wood and the remains of living organisms. Brittle stars feast on food that is dead and living; like other organisms, they rely on meat for protein and nutrients, and they supplement their intake of leafy greens by consuming small fish like minnows, as well as the eggs and young hatchlings of shellfish such as lobsters, crayfish and shrimp. Upon capturing food, brittle stars push their stomachs outward through their mouths, which are located on the undersides of their disks, to consume and digest prey.