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Phylum Echinodermata > Class Stelleroida > Subclass Asteroidea > Genera Astropecten
Painted sand star
Astropecten vappa
Family Astropectinidae
updated Jul 2020
Where seen? This large colourful fast moving sea star is sometimes encountered on our Northern shores. In sandy or silty shores, near seagrasses. According to Marsh and Fromont, it is moderately common on silty sand, weed and sand and shells in Australia.

Features: Diameter with arms 6-8cm. Body rather flat. Usually 5 arms long, tapered to a sharp tip. Along the sides of the arms are large marginal plates and stout flat long spines. These spines resemble the teeth of a comb and members of this family are sometimes called Comb sea stars. The spines are white, usually tinged a pale orange at the base. Upperside a light blue background with orange or darker blue stripes shading to orange near the tips. The arm tips are black. Sometimes with darker blue bands near the arm tips. Underside pale without markings. Tubefeet translucent with pointed tips.

What does it eat? According to Marsh and Fromont, it eats small clams and snails, which are swallowed whole.

Changi, Jun 05

Stout flat spines on the sides.

Madreporite at bottom right.

Underside white without markings.
Changi, Jun 05

Pointed tube feet.
Changi, Jun 06

Tiny painted star
Changi, Jul 08

With six arms.
Chek Jawa, Jun 03

Changi, Oct 10

*Species are difficult to positively identify without close examination.
On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of display.

Painted sand stars on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Pulau Ubin OBS, Jan 16
Photo shared by Jonathan Tan on facebook.

Parasitic Ulimid snail.
East Coast Park, Feb 16
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

East Coast, Dec 08
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

East Coast (G), May 21
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on facebook.

St John's Island, Oct 20
Photo shared by JIanlin Liu on facebook.


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