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Phylum Echinodermata > Class Stelleroida > Subclass Asteroidea
Cake sea star
Anthenea aspera

Family Oreasteridae
updated Oct 2016

Where seen? This large, flat sea star is often seen on our Northern shores. Smaller ones are usually seen in seagrass meadows while larger ones are usually seen on coral rubble, sometimes wedged under large rocks. It is usually seen alone and usually more active at night. According to Lane, these sea stars were previously only seen from samples dredged from the channel between Pulau Ubin and Pulau Tekong. One was seen in a dive off Pulau Semakau. They are considered rare in the Indo-Pacific (only known from North Australia, southern Japan, China, Indonesia and Singapore) and little is known about them.

Features: Diameter with arms 10-20cm. Stiff body, the upperside usually slightly convex. Ams are short with rounded tips. Large, neat marginal plates all around the edges. The upperside is covered with tiny pedicellariae (pincer-like structures). The underside is flat, usually with a pattern of bars that form chevrons around the arms, with large bivalved pedicellariae. The tube feet are short tipped with suckers. Cake sea stars come in a wide variety of patterns and colours, from black, brown, red, orange, yellow to even green.

Sometimes confused with the Biscuit sea star (Goniodiscaster scaber). and the Spiny sea star (Gymnanthenea laevis). Here's more on how to tell apart large sea stars seen on our shores.

Status and threats: This star is listed as 'Vulnerable' in the Red List of threatened animals of Singapore.

Changi, Jul 08

Upperside covered with tiny pedicellariae.

Underside usually with barred pattern.

Large marginal plates on the sides.

Large bivalve pedicellarie on underside.


A young Cake sea star with slender arms.
Changi, Jul 10

A small one with broad arms.
Chek Jawa, Aug 07

A small one with broad arms.
Pasir Ris Park, Jan 09


Changi, Jul 08

Tuas, Apr 08

Chek Jawa, Jul 08

Cake sea stars on Singapore shores

Photos of Cake sea stars for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map


Pasir Ris Park, Aug 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Pulau Ubin, Dec 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

East Coast Park, Feb 16
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.


Cyrene Reef, Jul 08

Photo shared by Chim Chee Kong on his flickr.

Cyrene Reef, Jun 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.


Links

References

  • Lane, David J.W. and Didier Vandenspiegel. 2003. A Guide to Sea Stars and Other Echinoderms of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 187pp.
  • Didier VandenSpiegel et al. 1998. The Asteroid fauna (Echinodermata) of Singapore with a distribution table and illustrated identification to the species. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 1998 46(2): 431-470.
  • Davison, G.W. H. and P. K. L. Ng and Ho Hua Chew, 2008. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened plants and animals of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore). 285 pp.
  • Coleman, Neville. 2007. Sea stars: Echinoderms of Asia/Indo-Pacific. Neville Coleman's Underwater Geographic Pty Ltd, Australia.136pp.
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