seen? This almost globular sea star is sometimes seen,
especially on the larger reefs on our Southern shores. Usually among
live hard corals.
Out of water, it may 'deflate' and appear more star-shaped. It is
more often encountered by divers in deeper waters, but are sometimes
also found on reef flats. Usually seen alone or widely spaced apart.
According to Gosliner, this is considered the most widespread and
common species of cushion star.
with arms 12-20cm.
Arms very short, body almost globular. According
to Lane, the thick calcified body walls and rounded shape makes it
more difficult for fish and other predators to bite it. The
upperside has a texture of circular shapes and little bumps. When
submerged tiny transparent finger-like structures (papulae) might
be seen on the upperside. The underside is flat with five grooves
and short tube feet with sucker-shaped tips. They come in a wide range
of colours and patterns. Juveniles are flatter, more star-shaped with
short arms edged with large
These are usually well hidden under stones and are rarely seen.
Young cushion stars are sometimes mistaken
for other large sea stars. Here's more on how
to tell apart large sea stars seen on our shores.
does it eat? It is reported that they eat live corals similar
to the feeding habits of the dreaded Crown-of-thorns sea star (Acanthaster
planci). According to Chow, it has been found to eat some species
of hard corals. But according to Lane, those in Singapore evert their
stomachs over immobile animals or even on sediments to eat the organic
particles found there. According to Gosliner, Culcita species
gains at least part of their nutrition from eating coral polyps as
well as seaweeds. While Schoppe says they eat coral polyps and other
Cushion friends: According to
Schoppe and to Gosliner, the commensal shrimp Periclimenes soror
is often seen on the underside as well as upperside of the sea star.
But this has not been observed for those stars seen at low tide on
Closer look at upperside.
stars on Singapore shores
Juvenile cushion star
Cyrene Reef, Mar 09
Shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his
Pulau Senang, Jun 10
by Loh Kok Sheng on his
Reef, Jun 08
Photo shared by Chim Chee Kong on his
more photos of cushion
stars of Singapore shores
feet on upper surface.
part 1 | part 2
| part 3
| part 4
| part 5
- Lane, David
J.W. and Didier Vandenspiegel. 2003. A
Guide to Sea Stars and Other Echinoderms of Singapore.
Singapore Science Centre. 187pp.
- Chou, L.
M., 1998. A
Guide to the Coral Reef Life of Singapore. Singapore Science
Centre. 128 pages.
Neville. 2007. Sea
stars: Echinoderms of Asia/Indo-Pacific. Neville Coleman’s
Underwater Geographic Pty Ltd, Australia.136pp.
Sabine, 2000. Echinoderms
of the Philippines: A guide to common shallow water sea stars,
brittle stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and feather stars.
Times Edition, Singapore. 144 pp.
Terrence M., David W. Behrens and Gary C. Williams. 1996. Coral
Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific: Animal life from Africa to Hawai’I
exclusive of the vertebrates
Sea Challengers. 314pp.