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Phylum Echinodermata


Echinodermata contains about 7000 living species, all exclusively marine with no fresh water or land based (terrestrial) species. Adult echinoderms possess pentaradial symmetry (five-sided) a calcite skeleton and  a water vascular system consisting of a network of fluid-filled canals that function in gas exchange, feeding, sensory reception and locomotion.


Australostichopus mollis

Brown Sea Cucumber

Found on moderately exposed reefs from WA to NSW and around Tasmania, also New Zealand. Eats small organic particles, feeds at night. While sea cucumbers can eject their internal organs in response to a predator, the Brown sea cucumber tends not to do this. Sold as food in Asian markets under the name bêche-de-mer in French, trepang in Indonesian, or namako in Japanese.

For more information see http://eol.org/pages/3067724/overview

MDC locations: touch tanks, aquaria


Amblypneustes ovum

Egg sea urchin

This species of sea urchin has short spines, and can often be found wrapped amongst the fronds of seaweeds. Found around Tas and from SA to Vic.

For more information see http://bie.ala.org.au/species/urn:lsid:biodiversity.org.au:afd.taxon:4e2a9ca2-b9fa-4d9f-be97-13704203c743

MDC locations: touch tanks


Coscinasterias muricata

Eleven-armed Sea Star

Common in shallow water and reefs, usually 11 arms but may have 7 to 12. Arms can regenerate if lost. Predates on bivalve molluscs.

NSW, TAS, VIC, SA, WA & Southern QLD, NZ

For more information see http://bie.ala.org.au/species/Coscinasterias+muricata

MDC locations: viewing pool


Heliocidaris erythrogramma

Purple sea urchin

Eats large algae, found from WA to Qld and around Tasmania.

For more information see http://eol.org/pages/4710336/overview

MDC locations: touch tanks, aquaria


Meridiastra calcar

Eight armed, or Cushion, or Spurred, or Carpet Sea star

Abundant in rock pools, feeds on algae and detritus, molluscs and scavenges. Most have 8 arms, some have 7, 9 or 10.

Widespread and common in NSW, TAS, VIC, SA & Southern QLD, Southern WA

For more information see http://bie.ala.org.au/species/Meridiastra+calcar

MDC locations: touch tanks


Parvulastra exigua

Small Sea Star

Common in rock pools or under stones, often under seaweed Neptune’s Necklace. Feeds on algae on rocks.

SA, TAS, Vic, NSW, southern QLD and South Africa.

For more information see http://bie.ala.org.au/species/Parvulastra+exigua

MDC locations: touch tanks


Tosia australis

Biscuit Sea Star

The main difference between this and T. magnifica is that this species has only six large plates along each of the body margins. This species feeds mainly on sea squirts, sponges, bryozoans and algae.

For more information see http://bie.ala.org.au/species/Tosia+australis

MDC locations: touch tanks


Tosia magnifica

Magnificent Biscuit Sea Star

Common on sheltered rocky reefs and sand. Feeds on sea squirts, encrusting sponges and algae.

TAS, SA and eastern Vic.

For more information see http://bie.ala.org.au/species/Tosia+magnifica

MDC locations: touch tanks


Uniophora granifera

Zig Zag, or Granular Sea Star

Common on sheltered rocky reefs, feeds on algae, sponges, molluscs and echinoderms, ascidian and crustaceans.


For more information see http://bie.ala.org.au/species/Uniophora+granifera

MDC locations: touch tanks