Animalia > Echinodermata > Asteroidea > Valvatida > Acanthasteridae > Acanthaster > Acanthaster planci

Acanthaster planci (crown-of-thorns starfish)

Synonyms: Acanthaster echinites; Acanthaster echinus; Acanthaster ellisi; Acanthaster mauritiensis; Acanthaster pseudoplanci; Asterias echinites; Asterias echinus; Asterias planci; Stellonia echinites

Wikipedia Abstract

The crown-of-thorns sea star, Acanthaster planci, is a large, multiple-armed starfish (or seastar) that usually preys upon hard, or stony, coral polyps (Scleractinia). The crown-of-thorns sea star receives its name from venomous thorn-like spines that cover its upper surface, resembling the Biblical crown of thorns. It is one of the largest sea stars in the world.
View Wikipedia Record: Acanthaster planci

Invasive Species

Coral gardens from Micronesia and Polynesia provide valuable marine resources for local communities and environments for native marine species such as marine fish. In coral ecosystems already affected by coral bleaching, excess tourism and natural events such as storms and El Nino, the effects of the invasive coral-feeding starfish (Acanthaster planci) on native coral communities contributes to an already dire state of affairs. Acanthaster planci significantly threatens the viability of these fragile coral ecosystems, and damage to coral gardens by the starfish has been quite extensive in some reef systems.
View ISSG Record: Acanthaster planci


Water Biome [1]  Reef, Coastal


Prey / Diet

Acanthaster planci (crown-of-thorns starfish)[2]
Echinopora horrida (Hedgehog coral)[2]
Favites abdita (Larger star coral)[2]
Fungia fungites (Mushroom coral)[2]
Gardineroseris planulata (Coral)[3]
Goniastrea retiformis (Lesser star coral)[2]
Goniopora lobata (Day coral)[2]
Millepora intricata[3]
Pavona cactus (Cactus coral)[2]
Pavona chiriquiensis (Leaf coral)[3]
Pavona clavus (Leaf coral)[3]
Pavona gigantea (Leaf coral)[3]
Pavona varians (Leaf coral)[3]
Pocillopora damicornis (Brush coral)[3]
Pocillopora elegans (Cauliflower coral)[3]
Pocillopora grandis (Coral)[3]
Porites lobata (Finger coral)[3]
Psammocora stellata[3]


Acanthaster planci (crown-of-thorns starfish)[2]
Arothron hispidus (poison puffer)[2]
Balistoides viridescens (bluefin filefish)[2]
Cassis cornuta (Helmet)[2]
Charonia tritonis (Atlantic trumpet triton)[4]
Cheilinus undulatus (Blue-tooth groper)[4]
Hymenocera picta (harlequin shrimp)[3]
Panulirus penicillatus (pronghorn spiny lobster)[2]
Pherecardia striata[3]
Pseudobalistes flavimarginatus (Yellow-margin triggerfish)[2]


Parasitized by 
Pterastericola vivipara[5]

Institutions (Zoos, etc.)

Institution Infraspecies / Breed 
Bristol Zoo Gardens
Burger's Zoo
John G. Shedd Aquarium


West Indian Ocean; Mascarene Basin; Eastern Africa & Madagascar; Red Sea; Kenya; Red Sea; Aldabra; Red Sea; Seychelles; Seychelles; Aldabra; Chagos; Cargados Carajos; Mozambique; Madagascar; Aldabra; Red Sea; West Indian Ocean; Mozambique; Tanzania; Mauritius; Madagascar; Palau Islands; New Zealand Exclusive Economic Zone;



Attributes / relations provided by
1Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. 2006. The Animal Diversity Web (online). Accessed February 01, 2010 at
2Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
3Food-Web Structure and Dynamics of Eastern Tropical Pacific Coral Reefs: Panamá and Galápagos Islands, Peter W. Glynn, Food Webs and the Dynamics of Marine Reefs, eds. Tim R. McClanahan & George M. Branch, p. 185-208 (2008)
4Clownfish and their Host Anemones ;; NOAA's Coral Reef Conservation Program
5Gibson, D. I., Bray, R. A., & Harris, E. A. (Compilers) (2005). Host-Parasite Database of the Natural History Museum, London
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Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License
Weather provided by NOAA METAR Data Access