Are Starfish Fish?

Are Starfish Fish

Starfish – you have definitely heard the name of this spectacular creature living in the ocean. Right? Starfish as the name indicates is a species that looks like a star. Being the popular species of the oceanic world, are these creatures fish? The researchers are also trying to figure out the answer to this question. You must be curious too. Scroll down to learn whether they are fish or not.

Are Starfish Fish?

No! starfish is not a fish.

Despite their name, Starfish are not fish; marine researchers have undertaken the task to replace the name Starfish with Sea star because they are not fish in real. Instead, Starfish belong to a special group of marine animals called Echinoderms. They have a close resemblance with Sand dollars, Sea cucumbers, or Sea urchins but not with fish.

What is the Scientific Classification of Starfish?

As Starfish belong to Echinoderms, they are classified as:

Kingdom:  Animalia

Phylum:  Echinodermata

Superclass: Asterozoa

Class:  Asteroidea

Genus:  Asterias

How Do Starfish Differ From Fish?

Several features indicate that they do not belong to a group of fish. Like fish, Starfish do not have scales, gills to breathe, or fins to swim. Further, these species prefer to live in saline water whereas fish thrive in freshwater habitats. Not only this, Starfish do not have blood, instead, they pump nutrients throughout the body by a water vascular system.

Where Do Starfish Live?

All over the globe, around about 1,600 species of Sea stars have been reported to live in the aquatic habitat. Starfish are usually found along the coastal regions of the saline habitat and avoid thriving in the freshwater environment because of their unique vascular system. Further, they live along muddy bays, coral reefs, and kelp forests.

What is the Physical Appearance of Starfish?

These star-shaped creatures are sessile and live on sedimentary rocks or the floor of the ocean. The body of Starfish is composed of a central disk with the mouth located in the middle region.  The disk is connected to the five arms, each of which has small eye spots which are sensitive to light.

Moreover, the body is covered with small spines which protect them from predatory animals. There are hundreds of tubular feet positioned at the bottom of the limbs which help them in steady movement. They can grow to size ranges from 4.7 to 9.4 inches and are around 11 pounds maximum. These species are having an average lifespan of 40 years or even more.

Are Starfish Prey or Predator?

Starfish is a carnivorous predatory species that feed on invertebrates like clams, mussels, sea snails, oysters, fishes, and other starfish as well. Unlikely, they also become prey to other predatory animals such as otters, seals, crabs, birds, fish, and sea lions because of their small size.

What is the Conservational Status of the Starfish?

Though, these remarkable species are found all over the globe but are recorded as Near Threatened in the Red List of the IUCN. This is because of the loss of habitat such as coral reefs, especially by human activities. Interestingly, Starfish play a vital role in maintaining the balance in the ecosystem but the recent rapid decline in their population imparts a dreadful impact on the biodiversity of the aquatic habitat.

Final Thoughts

Starfish are not fish; they are marine animals that belong to a group of invertebrates – Echinoderms. They are not considered fishes as they prefer to live in the saline habitat, along the coastal regions. Moreover, these species bear a unique water vascular system that helps in the distribution of nutrients and energy throughout the body because shockingly, these species do not have blood.

However, in their natural habitat, these species are predators of small aquatic creatures but have become prey to large predatory animals as well. Despite their wide distribution, they are labeled as near-threatened species. If you wish to see Sea Star, then you must take deep dive into the oceans.

About the author


I am a Scholar and a dedicated content writer. I am on a mission to stamp out the importance of one of the ocean's most fascinating and remarkable creatures, the sharks, and to let people know about their role in keeping the ecosystem in equilibrium.