Beautiful coloured Starfish | ©Lynne Tuller  (Mombasa, Kenya)

This starfish is Pentaceraster mammillatus, a species in the family Oreasteridae (order valvatida), characterized by having interadial spines green with orange tubercles [1].

Sometimes this sea star is called Common Knobbed Starfish. The specific name mammillatus refers to the rows of nipple-like protuberances that cover the surface of the animal and give it a studded or armored appearance.

The known distribution of this starfish covers the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea. In 2008 was documented its presence in Singapore waters [2].

Vermilion Sea Star (Mediaster aequalis)

…a smaller (76-127 mm [3-5 in]) species of Goniasterid sea star which is widely distributed along the western seaboard of North America, where it ranges from parts of Alaska south to California. Vermilion sea stars are generally found during low/negative tides where they will feed on a wide range of organisms ranging from plant matter to a range of marine invertebrates. 


Animalia-Echinodermata-Asteroidea-Valvatida-Goniasteridae-Mediaster-M. aequalis

Image: Norwoodpaul


As the name suggests, the Derwent River sea star (Marginaster littoralis) occupies five locations throughout Tasmania’s Derwent River, none of which fall within the boundary of nature reserves. Although little is known about the life cycle of Marginaster littoralis, characteristics of a similar sea star (Patiriella vivipara) suggest that the species has a life span of around four years.

Five known subpopulations are all geographically isolated from one another, albeit within the tight confines of the Derwent River.  Insufficient data exists on the current area of occupancy of the Derwent River Seastar, but it is unlikely to exceed 0.01 km2

There is insufficient data to indicate the species’ total population size. None of the published accounts of the species provide estimates of abundance. But data indicates that this little asteroid is likely to be extinct.

The destruction of the species’ habitat is a further threat. Populations in the Derwent River are located close to Hobart, and are subject to run-off pollution, but sadly, there is no recovery plan in place to protect the species.

  • Photo: In order by Blair Patullo and A J Dartnall 

Aquilonastra conandae

…is a very small (< 2cm) species of Asterinid starfish which was first discovered at Reunion Island, and was then later identified across the Mascarene Islands. Aquilonastra conandae individuals often have around seven or eight arms, which are often irregular in length.  This is most likely due to regeneration.


Animalia-Echinodermata-Asteoidea-Valvatida-Asterinidae-Aquilonastra-A. conandae

Image: Nicole Gravier-Bonnet

Biscuit Seastar - Tosia magnifica

Tosia magnifica (Valvatida - Goniasteridae) is a beautiful, large biscuit sea star with up to 16 cm. It is native to Australia, living on sub-tidal rocks and sediment, to depth of 200 m. It is rarely seen and little is known of its biology.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Saspotato (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) | Locality: Flinders Pier, Victoria, Australia (2009)

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Iconaster longimanus - The Icon Star

Also known as Double Sea star, and Iconic star, Iconaster longimanus (Valvatida - Goniasteridae) is one of the most beautiful starfish you can find in the west and central Indo-Pacific Ocean.

This strikingly patterned species has long, thin arms and a flat disk. Like other starfish in Goniasteridae family, Iconaster longimanus has a characteristic double range of marginal plates bordering the disk and arms, that protect the starfish and give it a rigid feel. The plates may be pale or dark and form unique patterns on each individual. 

The aboral surface of the central disk (body) has plates arranged in tessellated manner that form a five-pointed star, hence its common name, Double Sea Star.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Divaholic

Locality: unknown

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Lanzarote - Echinoderm - Smooth Starfish Hacelia attenuata | ©Tony J. Gilbert

Common names: Smooth Starfish, Gladde, Zeester, Étoile de mer, Glatter Seestern, Stella arancio, Estrella de mar lisa.

Hacelia attenuata is a starfish known from the Mediterranean Sea and some localities in the Atlantic .

Animalia - Echinodermata - Asteroidea - Valvatida - Ophidiasteridae - Hacelia - H. attenuata


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Mosaic Cushion Star - Halityle regularis

The Mosaic Cushion Star, Halityle regularis (Valvatida - Oreasteridae), is a species of sea star distributed in the Indo-West Pacific, characterized by having a pentagonal body with regular triangular papular areas arranged in hexagons, and the arms completely reduced in size. 

Sea stars are frequently inhabited by symbiotic animals of various taxonomic groups, ranging from protists to fish. Halityle regularis has symbiotic relationships with the Starfish Shrimp, Periclimenes soror, and with the polychaete Hololepidella millari.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Bernard Dupont (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) | Locality: Tanjung Kubur, Lembeh Strait, Sulawesi, Indonesia (2009)

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Vermillion Biscuit Star - Pentagonaster duebeni

Also known as Australian Biscuit Star, Pentagonaster duebeni (Valvatida - Goniasteridae) is a colorful sea star native to Southern Australia (including Tasmania) which is rarely seen and little is known of its biology.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©John Turnbull (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)| Locality: The Monument, Kurnell, Inscription Point, Sydney, Australia  (2013)

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Vermilion Biscuit Star - Pentagonaster duebeni

Pentagonaster duebeni (Goniasteridae) is a common Australian sea star, often observed in shallow, sheltered bays. As the genus name suggests, it has five arms whose relative length varies considerably between localities, but is easily recognized because of its conspicuous yellow, orange or red plates separated by thin, white or yellow lines.

This species ranges from Shark Bay, Western Australia, to southern Queensland and around Tasmania.

Other common names: Fire-brick Star, Red Biscuit Star.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Saspotato | Locality: Pope’s Eye, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia (2005)

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Bat Stars | ©Jordan Manley  (Burnaby Narrows, Haida Gwaii, North Coast of British Columbia, Canada)

Bat star, Patiria miniata (Valvatida - Asterinidae), Syn. Asterina miniata, is a species of sea star with varying coloration, most commonly reddish-orange or mottled white, but can be found in a variety of colors and patterns. They usually have five, sometimes four to nine, short, triangular arms. They have a radius of about four inches and have radial symmetry [1].

The Bat star is typically omnivorous feeding on a wide variety of plants and animals. Bat stars are common among rocks overgrown with surfgrass, larger algae, sponges, and bryozoans. It is also found in the low intertidal zone and the subtidal zone to 290 m.

This species occurs along the Pacific coast of North America, from Sitka, Alaska, to Baja California, and Islas de Revillagigedo, Mexico [2].

Estrela, Fromia monilis | ©João Pedro Silva  (Locality: Small Passage, Sharm El Sheikh, Red Sea, Egypt)

Fromia monilis (Valvatida - Goniasteridae [1]) is a carnivore starfish from the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific, commonly known as Necklace Starfish, Tiled Starfish, or Peppermint sea star.

Culcita schmideliana | ©Benjamin Naden  (Lembeh, Indonesia)

Although all sea stars are beautiful, Culcita schmideliana is one of the breathtaking species due to the intense color of some specimens (as shown in the picture).

Commonly named Spiny cushion star or simply Cushion Star, Culcita schmideliana (Oreasteridae) is a pentagonal sea star, that has a variety of colors in different patches. It doesn’t have arms and lives in tropical waters [1] of the Indo Pacific.

Typically this pin-cushion star has dark grey background with small irregular pink patches mostly adjacent to black tubercles [2]. However there is great variation to the pattern.

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Pin Cushion Seastar (red) | ©Marta Rubio Texeira                            (Negros Oriental, Philippines)

Culcita novaeguineae is a starfish characterized by its cushion shape and short arms that morph very gradually into the central disc. It is a bottom dweller on sandy substrates, feeding on sessile prey. It is found in coral reefs all over the Indo-Pacific [source].

Animalia - Echinodermata - Asteroidea - Valvatida - Oreasteridae - Culcita - C. novaeguineae

Blue starfish | ©Saspotato   (Beqa Lagoon Resort, Fiji, South Pacific)

Linckia laevigata (Ophidiasteridae) inhabits the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, from the western Indian Ocean to southeastern Polynesia.

This sea star or starfish is characterized by five cylindrical arms with a bright blue or light blue body color and yellow tube feet. Green, pink, and yellow colors have also been observed. Individuals can grow up to 30 to 40 centimeters across.


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