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Phylum Echinodermata > Class Stelleroida > Subclass Asteroidea
Cryptic sea star
Cryptasterina sp.

Family Asterinidae
updated Oct 2019
Where seen? This little sea star hides under stones near the mid-water mark. At low tide it clamps tight to the surface almost like a limpet. It is seen on some parts of Pulau Semakau and also at Lazarus Island.

Features: Diameter with arms (3-4cm). Its arms are so short that it appears almost pentagonal. Clamping tight to the surface, the body is sometimes in a hump in the centre. The upper surface has tiny holes through which short stubby
transparent finger-like structures (papulae) emerge when it is submerged. Underneath, in grooves under the arms, are short tube feet that end in suckers. Colours plain or mottled beige, brown or grey that camouflages it perfectly with the underside of the stone.

According to Lane, the species are very difficult to tell apart even under the microscope and molecular methods are needed to distinguish the species.

What does it eat? It grazes on algae and small animals found on the surface of the stone.

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

Pulau Semakau, May 08

Stubby papulae stick out on the upper surface

Several found under a stone.
Pulau Semakau, May 08

Underside

Cryptic sea stars on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores


Berlayar Creek, Oct 15
Shared by Jonathan Tan on facebook.

Berlayar Creek, Oct 15
Shared by Jonathan Tan on facebook.

Berlayar Creek, Oct 17
Shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.


Lazarus, Jul 11
Shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Lazarus, Jul 11
Shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Lazarus, Jul 11
Shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.


Pulau Semakau South, Feb 16
Shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.
 

References
  • Lane, David J.W. and Didier Vandenspiegel. 2003. A Guide to Sea Stars and Other Echinoderms of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 187pp.
  • 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.
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