Also known as Cushion Star, Cushion Starfish, Pin Cushion Sea Star, Pin Cushion Star, Pin Cushion Starfish, Starfish, Stella Marina Cuscino, Tropical Sea Star, Tropical Starfish.
Found singly or in constellations, amongst rubble areas of coral and rocky reefs. Their colour and pattern may vary.
They feed on stony corals, detritus, and small invertebrates.
Length - 30cm
Depth - 0-90m
Widespread Oceania, Indo-West Pacific
Culcita novaeguineae and Culcita schmedeliana are almost impossible to differentiate by sight so it is best to identify by area where found!
This Sea Star is Host to the Sea Star Shrimp - Periclimenes soror http://www.whatsthatfish.com/fish/sea-star-shrimp/3011
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/Culcita_novaeguineae