A wonderful starfish

Posts and messages that concern life in the sea, including fish, coral, crustaceans, and aquatic fauna of the Maltese islands. Note that there is another dedicated topic for Molluscs (Snails, clams, etc)

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A wonderful starfish

Post by MWP admin » Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:16 pm

I've been ages away from ghadira, but now I have to go again since it is suitable for the little one. Well thanks to her, I got my first encounter and hand shaking with a very nice specimen of a starfish.

I was hinted to Astropecten spp, but I wonder if someone can say exactly the full species name!

It was exciting to grab the creature for a while - much more from touching nettles :P After photo modelling, the creature was placed back.

Size 10-15cm, found on rough sand very close to the coast of Ghadira.
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StarfishMellieha2.JPG
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StarfishMellieha3.JPG
StarfishMellieha3.JPG (460.02 KiB) Viewed 15415 times
StarfishMellieha.JPG
Starfish from Mellieha (Ghadira Bay)
StarfishMellieha.JPG (444.79 KiB) Viewed 15415 times
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Conchiolin
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Post by Conchiolin » Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:24 am

Dude pay attention when handling such creatures they may be poisonous like a medusa. Never trust marine fauna. that's my first law.
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Identified

Post by MWP admin » Sun Sep 09, 2007 2:06 pm

This beautiful starfish is identified as Astropecten bispinosus - a medium sized species of Astropecten that can be between 8cm and 15cm across.

It is a common seastar of sandy bottoms. In Malta, six species of Astropecten are present, one very large (up to 50cm) and the other ranging in size from 7cm-12cm across. Telling them apart is not always easy as it involves detailed examination of the arrangement of the spines, especially those in the ambulacral grooves (where the tube feet are).

None of them are dangerous.

Information brought to you by the courtesy of Prof. Patrick J. Schembri
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