Image Antarctic sea star

TLF ID M008773

This image is a colour photograph of an Antarctic sea star feeding. A sea stars pushes its stomach out through its mouth, releases digestive enzymes and digests its prey. In this image, the yellowish sea star is held above a small tank and can be seen feeding.

Educational details

Educational value
  • Sea stars (sometimes called starfish) are hard-skinned animals that live on the rocky sea floor. They are invertebrate animals as they have no backbone. Sea stars move very slowly along the seabed, using hundreds of tiny tube feet. There are over 2000 different species of sea stars worldwide.
  • Antarctic sea stars are distributed widely at depths from 0 to about 1 m in the sea off Antarctica and the islands close to Antarctica (such as the South Shetland Islands, South Georgia Island, Marion Island and Prince Edward Island). Antarctic sea stars live on the ocean floor. Most sea stars are not endangered but can be affected by pollution and changes in water temperature.
  • Sea stars are carnivores (meat eaters). Their diet includes clams, oysters, coral, fish, sea urchins, isopods, bryozoans, amphipods, ostracods, shrimp, diatoms and seal faeces. The mouth of a sea star is located on the underside of the animal. They push their stomach out through their mouth. Sea stars secrete digestive juices that dissolve the tissue of their prey.
  • Some sea stars are able to reproduce asexually as some parts of their body that break off can grow into a new sea star. Sea stars also reproduce sexually. Fertilisation is external; they expel huge numbers of eggs and sperm into the ocean. The tiny, transparent larvae (baby sea stars) are swept along by ocean currents as part of the zooplankton for about two months, eating phytoplankton as they develop.
Year level

5; 6; 7

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: University of Waikato
  • Organization: University of Waikato
  • Description: content provider
  • Address: NEW ZEALAND
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  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
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  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
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  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd 2011 (except where otherwise indicated). You may copy, communicate and adapt this metadata for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.