Chemoreception was studied in Luidia clathrata (Say), collected from Old Tampa Bay, Florida, USA, in June 1983. L. clathrata has chemotactic responses to compounds associated with its preferred dietary items. This seastar responded most strongly to L-cysteine, L-cystine, L-isoleucine and L-glutamic acid, compounds associated with fleshy animal foods. Sugars (sucrose, maltose and lactose), compounds associated with plant and detrital foods, were also stimulatory, but less so than the aminoacids. The seastar showed a strong response to the freshtissue component, betaine. The excretory product ammonium, indicative of metabolic activity of live prey, elicited a weak response. Chemotactic responses were concentration-dependent. Concentration-response curves for L-cysteine, L-isoleucine, and L-glutamic acid are steeply sloped and have response-dose50 values within the range of 1×10-8 and 1×10-5M. L. clathrata is adapted to sensing concentration gradients at levels which could be expected in its environment. Distance chemoreception is an important component of both search behavior and food discrimination for this seastar. © 1984 Springer-Verlag.