Spiny Sand Seastar, Luidia quinaria

The spiny sand seastar (Luidia quinaria) is a species of starfish that is classified within the Luidiidae family. It can be found in shallow waters around the Korean Archipelago and in the China Sea. This species holds three subspecies including Luidia quinaria quinaria and Luidia quinaria bispinosa. The spiny sand seastar has a small body with long, thin arms, the feature from it derives its common name. The top of its body is covered with small spines that resemble pillars with flat tops, called paxillae. It is typically grey with pink or orange coloring on its upper side and pale in color on its underside.

The spiny sand sea star consumes a number of species, but its most common prey in Ise Bay is another echinoderm species known as Ophiura kinbergi. This species shares that area of its range with Astropecten scoparius, which mainly consumes mollusks. It is thought that these differences in diet occur because food items differ greatly in different areas of the bay. It has been found that the tissues of this species hold many secondary metabolites, like asterosaponin, which can help against asthma symptoms and coughs.

Image Caption: Spiny Sand Seastar. Credit: Almandine/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)