Also known Common Cushion Star, Cushion Sea Star, Cushion Star, New Zealand Common Cushion Star, New Zealand Sea Star, Starfish.
Found singly, or in constellations, on rubble and sandy areas, of coral and rocky reefs. Colour varies.
They feed on algae, barnacles and invertebrates, to catch their food the cushion star inflates its cushion and then deflates on top of its prey!
Length - 10cm
Depth - 0-30m
Southwest Pacific - Australia, Kermadec Islands, New Zealand
Sea Stars have remarkable regenerative powers, when attacked and damaged by predators they are able to grow new arms. They usually have five arms but have been found with 4 or 6 arms, this may be because more than one arm has been damaged at one time!
Sometimes small parasitic limpets can be found on the underside of arms which can deform the arms.
They possess a cleverly evolved arsenal of hydraulic tube feet connected to an elaborate water-vascular system that encircles the animal's mouth and extends via five radial canals down the centre of each arm.
Their mouth is underneath, but their prey is absorbed outside their mouths by forcing out their digestive organs from their stomach.
Sea Stars are carnivores and feed on almost any food including molluscs, worms, detritus and each other!
Some sea stars like the crown of thorns can be venomous. Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patiriella_regularis