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

Family Oreasteridae
updated Jul 2020
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. According to Marsh and Fromont, it is found on muddy sand in Australia.

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.

Changi, Jul 08

Upperside covered with tiny pedicellariae.

Large marginal plates on the sides.

Underside usually with barred pattern.

Large bivalve pedicellarie on underside
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.

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
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

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

Pasir Ris Park, Jan 20
Photo shared by Kelvin Yong on facebook.

Changi, Aug 18
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

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.

East Coast Park, May 21
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

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.



  • Loisette M. Marsh and Jane Fromont. Field Guide to Shallow Water Seastars of Australia. 2020. Western Australian Museum. 543pp.
  • 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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