Pulau Hantu - A celebration of marine life

Secret lives and secret worlds hidden in Singapore's most popular coral reef.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Falling Star

Icon star Iconaster longimanus

What may seem common to divers around the the reefs of Pulau Hantu and the Southern Islands, is actually an animal that is listed as "Vulnerable and rare" by The World Conservation Union's Red Data Book.

The icon star (Iconaster longimanus) is a striking species that occurs on lower reef slopes and the adjacent sea bed around many of the Southern Islands. It feeds on epilithic growth on hard substrata and coral rubble. Zoologically, it is interesting as it has large lecithotrophic eggs which show abbreviated development, without a larval stage. In recent years this sea-star has been found to be moderately common on and around many of the reefs fringing the Southern Islands. However it is considered vulnerable because living on and near the slopes of fringing reefs, it is threatened by reclaimation activities. Additionally, its attractive appearance many lead to over collection as a curio. Such threats are of particular concern given its slow growth rates.