Royal Sea Star
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Astropecten articulatus has dorsal granulose paxillae that are usually dark blue to purple and orange marginal plates with supermarginal white spines.
The five ambulacral grooves contain numerous ambulacral spines and tube feet. The mouth has a set of five jaws covered with spines. The color of the madreporite is light orange, and it has raised pores that connect to the water vascular system. The arms can reach 2–9 centimetres (0.8–4 in) in length.
Astropecten articulatus has large orangish yellow marginal plates. It has short paxillae that give the aboral surface a granular appearance Its paxillar areas on the arms are about twice the width of the marginals and are very compact. Fresh specimens are usually bright blue or purple with yellow, orange, or white marginals.
Astropecten articulatus 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. Unlike other starfish, it swallows food whole.
Bahamas, Belize, Cape Frio, Cape Hatteras, Caribbean Sea, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Florida, Guatemala, Gulf of Mexico, Guyanas, Honduras, Jamaica, Lesser Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Sargasso Sea, Venezuela, Yucatan
Habitat and behavior
The habitat of the Astropecten articulatus varies from 0 - 200 metres (700 ft) and it lives most commonly at the mid continental shelf around 20–30 metres (70–100 ft).
Astropecten articulatus is found along the east coast and commonly along the southeast coast of the United States.
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