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What Eats Starfish? (21 Animals with Pictures)

What Eats Starfish

Examples of animals that eat starfish include crabs, gulls, octopus, fish , and shrimp.

Starfish are predators themselves, eating snails and clams, but there are also several animals that prey on the slow, vulnerable starfish.

While starfish form an important part of the food chain, unfortunately, several species of starfish including the sunflower sea star are now critically endangered. This is mostly due to warming of the waters brought on by climate change, but predation also compounds the problem.

Examples of Animals that Eat Starfish

1. Alaska King Crabs

King Crab
Scientific NameParalithodes camtschaticus
Type of AnimalCrustaceans
RangeBering Sea

These crabs are found in the waters off the coast of Alaska and they are known to prey on starfish. The reason why they eat starfish is because they are looking for an easy meal.

Starfish have a hard exoskeleton and not much meat, so they are not a very nutritious meal. However, king crabs are not picky eaters and will consume anything that is available to them.

Related Article: Do King Crab Eat Lobster?

2. Black-Headed Gull

Black-Headed Gull
Scientific NameChroicocephalus ridibundus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America

The black-headed gull is a seagull that is found in Europe, Asia, and Africa. This gull feeds on a variety of small animals including starfish. The black-headed gull will typically find a starfish that is already dead, but it has been known to kill small starfish for food as well.

Read Also: Do Black-Headed Gull Have Webbed Feet?

3. Bony Fish

Bony Fish
Scientific NameOsteichthyes
Type of AnimalFish
RangeAll Oceans

There are many different species of bony fish, and they can be found in both saltwater and freshwater habitats. These fish are opportunistic feeders, which means that they will eat whatever is available to them. This includes starfish, which can provide the bony fish with a significant source of nutrients.

Read Also: Do Fish Eat Snakes?

4. Common Octopuses

red octopus
Scientific NameOctopoda
Type of AnimalCephalopod
RangeAll Oceans

The common octopus is a cephalopod that can be found in temperate and tropical waters all over the world. This octopus is a voracious eater, and it will consume anything that it can get its tentacles on. This includes starfish, which the octopus will usually eat whole.

Related Article: Does Common Octopuses Have Beaks?

5. Giant Octopus

Pacific Octopus
Scientific NameEnteroctopus dofleini
Type of AnimalCephalopod
Rangesouthern California

The giant octopus is the largest species of octopus, and it can be found in the Pacific Ocean. This octopus feeds on a variety of animals including starfish. The giant octopus will typically kill the starfish before eating it, and it has been known to eat up to 5 starfish in a single day.

Read Also: 19 Fish that Can Live in Bowls

6. Harlequin Shrimp

Harlequin Shrimp
Scientific NameHymenocera elegans Heller
Type of AnimalCrustacean
RangeIndian and Pacific Oceans

The harlequin shrimp is a marine crustacean that can be found in tropical waters all over the world. This shrimp feeds on a variety of animals including starfish. The harlequin shrimp will typically find a starfish that is already dead, but it has been known to kill small starfish for food as well.

7. Herring Gull

seagull
Scientific NameLarus argentatus
Type of AnimalBird
Rangethe North Atlantic

The herring gull is a type of seagull that can be found in the North Atlantic. These birds are known to eat a variety of seafood, including starfish. Herring gulls will typically drop their prey from a great height onto rocks below in order to crack open the hard shell of the starfish. This method of hunting is known as “stunning.”

Read Also: 28 Birds that Look Like Seagulls

8. Horn Sharks

Horn Shark
Scientific NameHeterodontidae
Type of AnimalFish
RangeCalifornia to the Gulf of California

Horn sharks are a type of bull shark that can be found in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. These sharks are known to eat a variety of marine animals, including starfish. Horn sharks typically ambush their prey by sneaking up on them before quickly biting them.

Related Article: 7 Shark Personality Traits

9. Leatherback Sea Turtle

Sea Turtle
Scientific NameDermochelys coriacea
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeAtlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans

The leatherback sea turtle is the largest turtle in the world. These turtles can be found in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans. Leatherbacks are known to eat a variety of prey items, including starfish. They typically consume starfish by biting them and then flipping them over so that they can swallow them whole.

10. Loggerhead Sea Turtle

Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Scientific NameCaretta caretta
Type of AnimalReptile
RangeWorldwide

The loggerhead sea turtle is one of the many predators of starfish. These turtles are found in warm ocean waters all around the world, and they prey on a variety of different animals including starfish, crabs, and mollusks. While loggerhead turtles have strong jaws that they use to crush their prey.

11. Manta Rays

Manta Rays
Scientific NameManta
Type of AnimalFish
RangeWorldwide

Manta rays are another predator of starfish. These large, flatfish are found in tropical and subtropical waters all around the world. Manta rays feed on a variety of different animals including small fish, plankton, and yes, even starfish. These rays use their long, powerful tails to swat at their prey and knock them unconscious before eating them.

12. Mimic Octopus

Mimic Octopus
Scientific NameThaumoctopus mimicus
Type of AnimalCephalopod
Rangeoff the coast of Sulawesi, Indonesia

The mimic octopus is a small octopus that is found in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region. This octopus gets its name from its ability to mimic the appearance of other animals, including venomous snakes, fish, and even sharks. The mimic octopus is also a predator of starfish. These octopuses use their camouflaging abilities to sneak up on their prey and then they use their strong beaks to puncture and kill their starfish victims.

Related Article: 10 Octopus Adaptations

13. Nurse Sharks

Nurse Shark
Scientific NameGinglymostoma cirratum
Type of AnimalFish
RangeAtlantic and Eastern Pacific

Nurse sharks are large, slow-moving sharks that are found in tropical and subtropical waters all around the world. Nurse sharks are bottom-dwellers and they feed on a variety of different animals including crabs, shrimp, and yes, starfish. These sharks use their powerful jaws and sharp teeth to crush their prey before swallowing it whole.

14. Other Starfish

Purple Starfish
Scientific NameAsteroidea
Type of AnimalInvertebrate
RangeWorldwide

Believe it or not, some species of starfish are also predators of other starfish. These carnivorous starfish use their long, sharp spines to puncture and kill their prey. They then pull their victim’s body apart with their tube feet and consume it.

15. Otters

otter
Scientific NameLutrinae
Type of AnimalMammal
Rangethroughout most of North America

Otters are small, semiaquatic mammals that are found in temperate and cold waters all around the world. These animals are predators of a variety of different animals including fish, crabs, and yes, starfish. Otters use their sharp claws and powerful jaws to catch and eat their prey.

16. Port Jackson Shark

shark
Scientific NameHeterodontus portusjacksoni
Type of AnimalFish
RangeAustralia

The Port Jackson shark is a small shark that is found in the waters off of Australia. This shark preys on a variety of different animals including crabs, shrimp, and starfish. The Port Jackson shark uses its sharp teeth to puncture and kill its prey.

17. Red King Crab

King Crab
Scientific NameParalithodes camtschaticus
Type of AnimalCrustacean
Rangethe Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands

The red king crab is a species of crab that is native to the Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands. These crabs are among the largest of all crabs, with an average carapace width of around 25 cm (9.8 in). Red king crabs are predators of starfish, as well as other invertebrates such as clams, shrimp, and squid.

These crabs use their large claws to break open the exoskeletons of their prey and consume them whole. Red king crabs are found in the waters off the coast of Alaska and Russia, and they are harvested for their meat which is considered to be a delicacy.

Related Article: Do King Crab Have Shells?

18. Ring-Billed Gull

Ring-billed Gull
Scientific NameLarus delawarensis
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth America

The ring-billed gull is a species of gull that is native to North America. These gulls are medium-sized, with an average wingspan of around 1.2 m (3.9 ft). Ring-billed gulls are opportunistic feeders and they will consume a variety of food items, including starfish.

These gulls are found near bodies of water in the United States and Canada, and they are considered to be a nuisance by some people because they often scavenge for food near garbage dumps and landfill sites.

19. Sea Gulls

seagull
Scientific NameLarus
Type of AnimalBird
RangeWorldwide

Sea gulls are a type of gull that is found near bodies of water all over the world. There are many different species of sea gulls, but they are all similar in size and appearance. Sea gulls are opportunistic feeders and they will consume a variety of food items, including starfish. These gulls often scavenge for food near beaches and coastal areas, and they are also known to steal food from other animals.

20. Sea Snails

water snail
Scientific NameLiparis montagui
Type of AnimalGastropod
RangeWorldwide

Sea snails are a type of snail that is found in the oceans all over the world. There are many different species of sea snails, but they all have a similar appearance. Sea snails are predators of starfish and other invertebrates, and they use their mouths to break open the exoskeletons of their prey. Sea snails are found in all types of habitats, from the shallows to the depths of the ocean.

Related Article: Do Snails Eat Zooplankton?

21. Western Gull

Black-Tailed Gull
Scientific NameLarus occidentalis
Type of AnimalBird
RangeNorth and South America, the Caribbean

The western gull is a species of gull that is found in the Pacific Ocean. These gulls are large, with an average wingspan of around 2 m (6.6 ft). Western gulls are predators of starfish, as well as other invertebrates such as clams, shrimp, and squid.

These gulls use their large beaks to break open the exoskeletons of their prey and consume them whole. Western gulls are found near the coast of California, Oregon, and Washington, and they are considered to be a nuisance by some people because they often scavenge for food near garbage dumps and landfill sites.

Conclusion

There are many different animals that eat starfish, including both land and marine creatures. These animals use a variety of methods to catch and consume starfish, including biting them, flipping them over to swallow them whole, and stunning them before eating. All of these animals benefit from the nutrients that are found in starfish.

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