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Blue Linckia: Linkia laevigata

Phylum: Class: Order: Family: Genus: Species:
Echinodermata Asteriodea Valvatida Ophidiasteridae Linckia L. laevigata

Common Names:  Blue Linckia Starfish

Scientific Name:  Linckia laevitgata

Description:
The Blue Linckia starfish is a bright blue sea star of unusual beauty.  The body and five arms are a medium to dark solid blue in coloration sometimes with lighter blue spots along the arms..  The arms are long, thick and blunt ended with little taper.  It is relatively slow in motion even for a starfish and seems methodical as it moves about.  It is primarily nocturnal and hunts for food at night.

Natural Environment:
Comes from reefs in the Indo-Pacific region where it has a sparse but wide distribution.

Reef Tank Suitability:
Blue Linckia starfish are popular in the reef aquarium trade and excellent reef aquarium candidates, but little is known about the proper requirements for keeping them and they are relatively delicate.  When selecting a specimen, ensure that its body and arms look plump and not shrunken.  Avoid any specimen that has whitish areas or patches of discoloration as they tend to fair poorly in shipment.

Disposition:
Blue Linckia starfish seem to be harmless to any corals or other standard aquarium livestock

Feeding:
Blue Linckia starfish are mainly detritivore and graze on organic films and possibly small organisms on live rock. Supplemental feeding has typically not been effective.

Hardiness:
Relatively delicate when first introduced.  Some Blue Linckia starfish thrive for years in aquaria and seem hardy once established and others seems to quickly succumb to degeneration brought on by transport stress or slowly  starve and waste away probably due to inadequate nutrition.  Long-term success appears to be a combination of the health of the starfish when first acquired as well as the food availability within the aquarium.  Larger tanks with greater amounts of live rock for the Linckia to feed on have a better chance for success.

All Starfish require careful acclimation in the aquarium.  Ideally salinity and pH will be tested between the transport water and the home tank and slow adjustment made between the two over several hours, preferably using the drip acclimation method.

Temperature:
Does well within normal reef tank temperature ranges of approximately 74-84°F.

Size:
Blue Linckia starfish can grow to about 12″ across, but typically are 5 to 8″ across in the hobby trade.

Acknowledgments:
The header picture courtesy of Richard Ling.  Tagged photos courtesy of Dr. Dwayne Meadows and NOAA.  All other photos by ReefCorner © All Rights Reserved

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