Identify UK starfish

Identify starfish

Seven armed starfish by Paul Naylor

Most-spotted starfish

Starfish help maintain a delicate balance in coastal ecosystems through eating mussels and barnacles. Here are the starfish that you might see in the UK.

Bloody Henry starfish

Bloody Henry starfish ©Polly Whyte/Earth in Focus

Bloody Henry starfish  are normally a bright purply-red colour. However this can vary with different shades of red, brown and yellow. They reaches, on average, 10cm in size.

Common starfish are easy to spot in UK seas. They are found in rockpools and out at sea to depths of 600m. They have five arms, usually orange in colour, and have many small pale spines. They are often found washed up on the shore after rough seas.

A tiny cushion star.

Matt Slater Cheshire Wildlife Trust

Cushion starfish - It's easy to see where this small starfish got its name. They really do look like a little star-shaped cushion! They can be found on rocky shores, hiding under rocks or in crevices during the daytime and also live on the seabed down to depths of 100m. They grow to around 5cm long.

Seven armed starfish

Seven armed starfish by Paul Naylor

Seven armed starfish are orange all over the body and seven arms. Their arms are long, soft and only get thinner towards the tips. Obvious white spines run around the edge of each arm. Their seven arms allow them to move surprisingly quickly across the sea floor.

Spiny starfish

Spiny starfish ©Linda Pitkin/2020VISION

Spiny starfish are unmistakeable. They are HUGE, growing to the size of a dustbin lid. They are also very spiny - the whole body is covered in white spines. They live in shallow waters close to shore and down to depths of 200m.

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