Also known as Cushion Star, Patchwork Sea Star, Patchwork Starfish, Pillow Sea Star, Pillow Starfish, Pincushion Sea Star, Pincushion Starfish, Pink Pillow, Schmedelian Pincushion Starfish, Starfish.
Found singly or in groups on rubble and sandy areas over shallow rocky reefs.
They feed on hard and soft corals and sponges.
Varies in colour.
Length - 25cm
Depth - 0-30m
Widespread Western Indian Ocean
Culcita schmedeliana and Culcita novaeguineae are almost impossible to differentiate by sight so it is best to identify by area where found!
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_schmideliana