Crown of thorns starfish

Tahitian names


Interesting facts

Crown-of-thorns starfish are beautiful, prickly and devastating creatures that have caused mass destruction on some of the world's most beautiful coral reefs.

One of the most noticeable features of the crown-of-thorn starfish is their spines, which may be up to two inches long. These sea stars can be from 9 inches to up to 3 feet in diameter. They have 7-23 arms.  These are colorful animals with a variety of palettes. Skin colors include brown, gray, green or purple up to 2 inches long. Spine colors may include red, yellow, blue and brown.  Despite their stiff appearance, crown-of-thorns starfish are surprisingly agile.

An increase in the number of crown of thorns has been attributed to the decimation of its chief predator, a large marine snail, the Pacific triton (Charonia tritonis), by shell collectors.

Resources & Documents

sources & credits