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Species Guide » 18. Seastars » Asterina pancerii ca / es

Scientific name: Asterina pancerii

(Gasco, 1870)

Common Name: Cat: Estrella de capità petita, Cast: Estrella de capitán pequeña, Eng: Cushion star

Group: 18. Seastars

Area type: Meadow dive, Diving and watching under the stones

Depth: Between 1 and 50 m

Measures: Up to 1,5 cm

How does it look like?

1,5 cm diameter, pentagonal-cushioned shaped with very short arms. It’s colour can vary from red to greenish with some white spots. At the arm's borders of the arms they have several tiny spikes which confer them a shape like a saw.

 

Where does it live?

It's an endemic species of the Mediterranean sea, found between 1 and 50 meters on the leaves and between the rizomas of Posidonia oceanica. Sometimes they also have been found on sea weeds like incrustant rodoficeas.

 

How does it feed?

They invert their stomachs in order to digest the food they eat. Their diet consists of microorganisms, decaying seaweeds and small or dead invertebrates found on top of Posidonia oceanica.

 

How do they reproduce?

Females take care of the eggs inside their body from spring to summer untill they hatch as completely formed starlets.

 

Is a confusion possible?

It can be confused with Asterina gibbosa, however they differ in size and colour. Confusions are also very common with Asterina phylactica. This seastar, however shows in subtle way individual arms which separate from the main body. Asterina pancerii's arms remain to the body's pentagon and can't be clearly individualized.

 

Curiosities

· In the first stages of life they are all females. As they grow they change into male starlets.

 

Taxonomy

Phyllum: Echinodermata, Class: Asteroidea, Order: Spinulosa, Family: Asterinidae

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