sea stars text index | photo index
Phylum Echinodermata > Class Stelleroida > Subclass Asteroidea
Spiny sea star
Gymnanthenea laevis
Family Oreasteridae
updated Mar 2020
Where seen? This sea star is sometimes seen, usually on our Northern shores. In seagrass meadows and coral rubble.

Features: Diameter with arms 7-15cm. Usually five arms long with rounded tips. The body is bordered by large, block-like scalloped plates with huge pedicellaria (pincer-like structures), with many spiny bumps along the arms. On the upper side, there are many spiny bumps, sometimes with very lage flat plate-like spines. Colours seen generally mottled brown or grey, sometimes with orange arm tips. Bright orange ones are sometimes seen. The underside is pale usually without any patterns. Each plate on the underside has a huge bivalved pedicellaria (pincer-like structures). The pale tube feet are tipped with suckers.

Sometimes confused with the Biscuit sea star (Goniodiscaster scaber) and the Cake sea star (Anthenea aspera). Here's more on how to tell apart large sea stars on our shores.

Chek Jawa, Oct 08

Large plate-like spines on upperside.

Large block-like plates on sides of the arms.
Spines on the tips of the arms.

Underside may be plain or spotted.

Large bivalved pedicelleria on the underside.

A tiny one.
Changi (4), Jun 21
Photo shared by Vincent Choo on facebook.

Spiny sea stars on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Pulau Ubin, Jul 17
Photo shared by Abel Yeo on facebook.

Tanah Merah, Aug 09

Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Beting Bronok, Jul 20
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on facebook.

East Coast, Jul 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

East Coast, May 17
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

East Coast Park (B), Jun 21
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Cyrene Reef, May 08

Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Cyrene Reef, Jul 10

Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on her blog.



  • 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.
  • Coleman, Neville. 2007. Sea stars: Echinoderms of Asia/Indo-Pacific. Neville Coleman's Underwater Geographic Pty Ltd, Australia.136pp.
links | references | about | email Ria
Spot errors? Have a question? Want to share your sightings? email Ria I'll be glad to hear from you!
wildfactsheets website©ria tan 2008