Serpent Starfish - Ophioderma sp.
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|Stocking:||1 per 50 gallons|
Serpent Stars are a fascinating species, and are one of the easier sea stars to keep in captivity. There are countless subspecies and color variation from around the world ranging from the tropics to below the polar ice sheets. They're notable for their round central disc and long spindly 'serpent like' arms, which give them their name. Interestingly, unlike more traditional sea stars, they're capable of picking up their bodies with their arms and 'galloping' if they need to escape quickly.
Serpent stars grow to an impressive 1 foot or more in diameter, though you'll rarely see their whole bodies. They are a nocturnal species, spending all day tucked up under rockwork with just an arm or two extended out to hunt for food. At night, they'll come out to search for uneaten food and detritus on the rock and sand. Like all inverts, they cannot tolerate copper, and are sensitive to sudden changes in parameters, so a drip acclimation is important. As with other sea stars, it's recommended to minimize exposure to air during acclimation or handling.
Serpent Stars forage for uneaten food and detritus at night. Being a large species, and more ornamental than clean up crew, it is recommended to provide them supplemental meaty foods.