A cushion star (Asterina gibbosa)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.

Researched byMarie Skewes Refereed byAdmin
Authority(Pennant, 1777)
Other common names- Synonyms-

Summary

Description

A small starfish (up to 5 cm) with 5 (rarely 4 or 6) very short, broad-based arms. Upper surface covered with groups of short stiff spines. Colour variable but usually brown, green or orange; mottled individuals are present in some populations. The predominant colour pattern varies from area to area and with habitat, specimens from lower shore situations generally being paler in colour.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Common on all British coasts but sparse in the north-east and not recorded from Lincolnshire around to Hampshire

Global distribution

Found in the Mediterranean, Azores and Canary Isles

Habitat

Found under boulders and stones on the lower shore on sheltered and semi-exposed rocky coasts and also in rockpools. Extends into the sublittoral to depths of about 100 m.

Depth range

-

Identifying features

  • Sub-pentagonal; ventral surface flat but dorsal surface rounded.
  • Mouth plates each bear two spines on the ventral side.

Additional information

Asterina gibbosa is a protandrous hermaphrodite: small or young individuals are males but as they become older and increase in size they develop into females. Asterina gibbosa may be distinguished from the morphologically similar Asterina phylactica which has a consistent colour pattern with a brown central star typically overlying the general background colour. There are rarely spines on the mouth plates of Asterina phylactica.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

Search on:

NBN WoRMS

Bibliography

  1. Barnes, R.D., 1980. Invertebrate Zoology, 4th ed. Philadelphia: Holt-Saunders International Editions.

  2. Emson, R.H. & Crump, R.G., 1979. Description of a new species of Asterina (Asteroidea), with an account of its ecology. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, 59, 77-94.

  3. Emson, R.H., & Moore, P.G., 1998. Diet and gonad size in three populations of Echinus esculentus. In Proceedings of the Ninth International Echinoderm Conference San Francisco, California, USA, 5-9 August 1996. Echinoderms: San Francisco (ed. R. Mooi & M. Telford), pp. 641-644. Rotterdam: A.A. Balkena.

  4. Esselink, P. & Zwarts, L., 1989. Seasonal trend in burrow depth and tidal variation in feeding activity of Nereis diversicolor. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 56, 243-254.

  5. Fish, J.D. & Fish, S., 1996. A student's guide to the seashore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  6. Hayward, P., Nelson-Smith, T. & Shields, C. 1996. Collins pocket guide. Sea shore of Britain and northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.

  7. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  8. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E. (ed.), 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  9. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line] http://www.jncc.gov.uk/mermaid,

  10. Mortensen, T.H., 1927. Handbook of the echinoderms of the British Isles. London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press.

  11. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from: http://www.nbnatlas.org.  Accessed 01 April 2017

  12. Picton, B.E. & Costello, M.J., 1998. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland. [CD-ROM] Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin., http://www.itsligo.ie/biomar/

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Skewes, M. 2008. Asterina gibbosa A cushion star. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1563

Last Updated: 24/04/2008