Type of fouling organism: Sea Star
Echinoderms are a group of morphologically diverse animals and the name derives from the animal's spiny skin. They include sea stars, star fish, brittle stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and sea lilies. Their size varies from 1cm to 1m in diameter. Over 7,000 species have been described and all are marine. Their body cavity facilitates the development of a water vascular system, which transports sea water within the animal and bears tube feet that are thought to be responsible for food collection, respiration, sensation and movement. The tube feet in sea stars have enough strength to pull open bivalve shells, enabling them to feed on shellfish.
Asterias rubens is the most common starfish found in the north east Atlantic. It has five arms, which are broad at the base and that may be turned up at the ends when active. Colour varies but is usually orange, pale brown or violet. Average size is 100 - 300 mm but some individuals may be up to 520 mm in diameter.
Environment and Habitat
- Intertidal and to depths of 650 m.
- Reproductive type: Separate sexes.
- Solitary and gregarious.
- Mussel rope culture, oyster and suspended pectinid culture.
Effects and Impacts
- Problematic for stock species as can compete for space and resources.
Control/ Strategies and Management
Principles of Management
C Combat Settlement
- Found through out the north east Atlantic from Northern Norway to southern Portugal, but extremely rarely found in the Mediterranean.
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