- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Echinodermata
- Class: Asteroidea
- Order: Valvatida
- Family: Oreasteridae
- Species: Protoreaster Nodosus
They posses spins "chips" that are arranged in a single row, radially on the dorsal side. These "chips" start off pointy, horn like, and erode over time becoming dull and blunt. They are meant to scare off any predators by looking dangerous.The Sea stars are usually colored in shades of red or brown, but can be light tan, the color of cookie dough. This appearance,
combined with the small chips, give the sea star a look similar to that of a bumpy cookie.
The chocolate chip sea star can be found in the waters of the Indo-Pacific region. Horned
sea stars prefer sheltered, sandy or slightly muddy bottoms more than hard substrates such as a coral reef, and are frequently sighted between the leaves of seagrass or on a blank stretch of coral sand. They are found most often in low tide and do not withstand rapid changes well and keep themselves underwater.
Horned sea stars seem to be opportunistic carnivores;
They are known to consume most sessile life forms including hard corals and sponges. They will also hunt down snails and eat them. Someone has also seen one chowing down on a sea urchin in their habitat.
Although starfish are fairly well armored and generally ignored by fish, several types of fish will view them as food, including triggerfish, pufferfish, boxfish, and parrotfish.
They are dioecious, but you are unable to tell the difference between the two without dissection. Spawning takes place between march and may. The larvae are planktotrophic and stay within the plankton for around 10 to 15 days.
In many tropical Asian and Pacific countries these sea stars are collected for sea shell trade. In
some areas over harvesting is an issue and reduces the population greatly due to the continuos harvesting by the industry.
As with other tropical Echinoderms, animals like shrimp, tiny brittle stars and even file fish can be found on the surfaces of a chocolate chip