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Phylum Echinodermata > Class Stelleroida > Subclass Asteroidea > Genus Astropecten
Plain sand star
Astropecten indicus

Family Astropectinidae
updated Mar 2020
Where seen? This fast moving sea star is commonly encountered on our Northern shores. In sandy or silty shores. It comes out in large numbers at sunset. During the day, it usually remains buried in the sand or silt. So far, not seen in the South on the intertidal. According to Marsh and Fromont, it is moderately common on silty sand, weed and sand and shells in Australia.

Features: Diameter with arms 4-6cm. Body rather flat. Usually 5 arms long, tapered to a sharp tip. Stout flat long spines along the arms. These spines resemble the teeth of a comb and members of this family are sometimes called Comb sea stars. The spines are usually tinged a bright orange at the base with white tips. The marginal plates on the sides of the arms are not so large. Upperside generally a plain bluish brown, with a darker brown centre and a brown stripe down the length of each arm. The tips of the arms are black. Underside white without markings. Tubefeet translucent with pointed tips.

What does it eat? According to Marsh and Fromont, it eats clams.

Changi, Jun 05

Stout flat spines on the sides.

Pointed tube feet
Feeding on a star: Sometimes, tiny white snails are found on the upperside. These are parasitic snails (Family Eulimidae).

Tiny parasitic snails sometimes seen.

Chek Jawa, Apr 05

Sometimes with only 4 arms.
Changi, Aug 08

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

Plain sand stars on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Coney Island, Oct 20
Photo shared by Richard Kuah on facebook.

Pulau Ubin OBS, Jan 16
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.

Changi Lost Coast, Jun 22
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

East Coast-Marina Bay, Jan 21
Photo shared by Vincent Choo on facebook.

Tuas, Mar 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Links References
  • Loisette M. Marsh and Jane Fromont. Field Guide to Shallow Water Seastars of Australia. 2020. Western Australian Museum. 543pp
  • K. S. Loh . 31 Aug.2011. Diet and feeding in the sea star Astropecten indicus (Doderlein, 1888). The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 2011 59 (2): 251-258 and Loh Kok Sheng's blog post about this study.
  • 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.
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