Cushion Sea Star, Choriaster granulatus
The cushion sea star (Choriaster granulatus), also known as the granulated sea star or the doughboy star, is a species of sea star that is classified within the Oreasteridae family. It is the sole species within its genus, Choriaster. It can be found in a number of tropical areas including the Red Sea, the Great Barrier Reef, the Indo-Pacific region, and along the coasts of East Africa. It prefers to reside in areas with coral reefs or detritus, as depths of up to 131 feet.
The cushion sea star is a large species, reaching an average of diameter 10.6 inches. Its arms are short and thick and do not taper to a point, like most species of starfish. Its coloring is typically pale pink with groupings of small brown papillae in the center of its disk. Like other starfish species, this species consumes detritus, carrion, and algae and one of its common predators is Triton’s trumpet, a species of sea snail.
Image Caption: A robust red sea star (Choriaster granulatus). Philippine Islands, Occidental Mindoro, Pandan Islands. Credit: Dr. Dwayne Meadows/Wikipedia (CC BY 2.0)