PORT PHILLIP BAY


Black and White Seastar 

Smilasterias multipara O'Loughlin & O'Hara, 1990

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

See below for information.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Echinodermata
Class:
Asteroidea
Order:
Forcipulatida
Family:
Asteriidae
Genus:
Smilasterias
Species:
multipara

General Description

Arms 5, not readily lost if disturbed. Body pattern mottled reds and cream. Centre to arm tip up to 4 cm.

Biology

This species reproduces sexually, but the females brood embryos and juveniles in the stomach, up to 300 in a single female. Tube feet transfer the eggs or embryos from the gonopores on the sides of the arm into the stomach. It is not known where the eggs are fertilised. The young seastars are released with about 1 mm long arms, into rocky shallows in Spring. An Arctic seastar is the only other species with this capacity for gastric brooding.

Habitat

Lives on the under-surface of basalt rocks, to depth of 3 m.

Reefs

Distribution guide

Tasmania and Victoria.

Species Group

Seastars and allies Sea stars

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)
Shallow (1-30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

8 cm

Diet

Carnivore

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Identify

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author O'Loughlin, P. M.

Mark O'Loughlin is an Honorary Associate in marine invertebrates at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
O'Loughlin, P. M., 2011, Black and White Seastar, Smilasterias multipara, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 23 Nov 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/7776

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