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Phylum Echinodermata > Class Stelleroida > Subclass Asteroidea > Genus Luidia
Eight-armed Luidia sea star
Luidia maculata
Family Luidiidae
updated Jul 2020
Where seen? This elegant large sea star has its stronghold on our Northern shores. Usually seen on soft, silty shores, near seagrass meadows and coral rubble. Usually alone, although sometimes, large numbers can be seen gathered together. It moves rapidly and is usually more active at night. It appears to be seasonal. Sometimes seen in large numbers and then none seen for some time. According to Marsh and Fromont, it is moderately common on sand or mud in Australia.

Features: Diameter with arms to 12-20cm. 5 to 9, usually 8 arms. Arms are long, somewhat rounded in cross-section, and tapered to a sharp tip, edged with small sharp spines along the sides. The upper surface of the body is covered with special flat-topped, pillar-like structures called paxillae. The underside is pale, and from grooves along the arms emerge large tube feet with club-like, pointed tips. Colours and patterns on the upperside are highly variable in shades of greyish blue, to brown and beige, but usually with a darker star-shaped pattern in the centre, and dark irregular bars along the length of the arms.

Sometimes mistaken for the Common sea star. The Common sea star has large tube feet with sucker-shaped tips, while the Eight-armed sand star has large tube feet with pointed tips.

Changi, Jul 08

Flat-topped, pillar-like structures called paxillae

Sometimes, many are seen together.
Changi, Jun 2019
Pulau Sekudu, May 08

Pointed tube feet
Spawning position? Sometimes, the large sea star is seen with its central disk raised above the ground on all its arms. Is it in spawning position?

In spawning position?
Changi, May 21

In spawning position?
East Coast, Dec 08
What does it eat? This sea star appears to be a serious predator! According to Lane, it burrows in soft sediments and feeds on small buried animals such as molluscs and other echinoderms. Coleman has a photo of this sea star eating another sea star! According to Marsh and Fromont, it eats sea stars, sand dollars and heart urchins which are swallowed whole. It also eats clams and snails, crustaceans, worms, brittle stars and sea cucumbers.

Status and threats: According to Lane, the Eight-armed sand star used to be common on our mainland shores. It is now listed as 'Endangered' on the Red List of threatened animals in Singapore.
Eight-armed Luidia sea star (Luidia maculata)

Eight-armed Luidia sea stars on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Punggol, May 21
Photo shared by Richard Kuah on facebook.

Coney Island, Apr 19
Shared by Richard Kuah on facebook.

Cluster of many large sea stars.
Pasir Ris, Dec 18
Shared by Carol Phillips on facebook.

Cluster of many large sea stars.
Pasir Ris, Jul 18
Shared by Richard Kuah on facebook.

With five arms.
Changi, May 16
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.

Changi, Jun 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Pulau Sekudu, Jul 09

Tanah Merah, May 13
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Tuas, Mar 15
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

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

Pulau Semakau, Aug 11

Photo shared by James Koh 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.
  • Schoppe, 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.
  • Coleman, Neville. 2007. Sea stars: Echinoderms of Asia/Indo-Pacific. Neville Coleman's Underwater Geographic Pty Ltd, Australia.136pp.
  • Gosliner, Terrence M., David W. Behrens and Gary C. Williams. 1996. Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific: Animal life from Africa to Hawaii exclusive of the vertebrates Sea Challengers. 314pp.
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