Seven-armed starfish (Luidia ciliaris)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



Luidia ciliaris is a large starfish, typically 40 cm across and occasionally up to 60 cm. It is red, orange-brown or yellow in colour and lighter on the underside. There are seven long arms that are a constant width along their length, tapering only at their outer end. A fringe of short white spines projects down the margins of each arm. The tube feet are long and have no suckers.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Occurs around the north, west and southwest coasts of Britain and all around the Irish coast.

Global distribution

Found from the Faeroe Islands to Cape Verde and in the Mediterranean.


Found on sand, gravel, mixed sediments and rock from the lower shore to about 400 m. May partly burrow into soft sediments.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • A large starfish, typically up to 40 cm in diameter, may occasionally reach 60 cm.
  • Orange-brown or reddish in colour and lighter on the underside.
  • 7 long arms that taper only at their outer ends.
  • A conspicuous fringe of stiff, white spines projects from the margins of each arm.
  • The tube feet are long and have no suckers.

Additional information

Luidia ciliaris is a fragile species and may have arms that vary in width or length due to their regeneration.

Listed by

- none -


  1. Bruce, J.R., Colman, J.S. & Jones, N.S., 1963. Marine fauna of the Isle of Man. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

  2. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  3. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  4. Mortensen, T.H., 1927. Handbook of the echinoderms of the British Isles. London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press.

  5. Picton, B.E., 1993. A field guide to the shallow-water echinoderms of the British Isles. London: Immel Publishing Ltd.


  1. Fenwick, 2018. Aphotomarine. Occurrence dataset Accessed via on 2018-10-01

  2. Manx Biological Recording Partnership, 2018. Isle of Man historical wildlife records 1990 to 1994. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-10-01.

  3. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

  4. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-07-14


This review can be cited as:

Avant, P. 2008. Luidia ciliaris Seven-armed starfish. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 14-07-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 24/04/2008