Winter feeding activity of the common starfish (Asterias rubens L.): The role of temperature and shading

A. Agüera García, M.A. Trommelen, F. Burrows, J.M. Jansen, T. Schellekens, A.C. Smaal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


In the Wadden Sea common starfish is an important predator of mussel beds which in turn are relevant ecological and economic resource. To improve the management of mussel seedbeds, knowledge is required on over winter predation, a factor affecting mussel survival. The aim of this study was to assess the importance of A. rubens feeding activity during winter and how it relates with changes in temperature. Feeding activity of starfish was monitored during a full winter. The potential impact of temperature change on starfish–mussel seed interactions during winter was analysed. The factor shading was included, as changes in light intensity appear to be a primary governing factor for the timing of feeding activity. The results showed that temperature limits feeding rate and feeding activity of starfish during winter. However, starfish feeding rate exhibited very high sensitivity to temperature changes. Light intensity affected both feeding rate and feeding activity. It is concluded that starfish may not be an important factor destabilising seedbeds during a mean winter, but its importance may grow along with the increasing temperature due to climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-112
JournalJournal of Sea Research
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • mussels mytilus-edulis
  • luidia-clathrata say
  • dutch-wadden sea
  • l echinodermata
  • bivalve prey
  • asteroidea
  • predator
  • growth
  • behavior
  • beds

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