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Nectria wilsoni (Family Goniasteridae)

Wilson's Seastar



Wilson's Seastar ranges from northern New South Wales around southern Australia to the Great Australian Bight in South Australia, including Tasmania. Edgar states it ranges from Beagle Island, Western Australia, across southern shores to Lakes Entrance, Victoria. Shepherd and Thomas extend this range to northern New South Wales (NSW, VIC, TAS, SA, WA).


Wilson's Seastar is a five-rayed seastar with long tapering arms which become uniformly more thin at the arm tips. It grows to 90-100 mm. across. It has distinctive, granular, raised, convex (concave in Edgar) tabulae (table-like structures) on the upper surface. A distinctive feature of this species is that the central granules within each tabulae are round in shape, not angular in cross-section. These central tabulae are all of similar size and shape and are slightly larger than the peripheral granules that form a distinctive surrounding ring around the edge of each tabulae. These tables are close, but not compact, and are usually well spaced and are rarely crowded. The tabulae are mostly confined to the central area between the arms. The tables grow smaller near the arm tips. The tabulae are never crowded as found in Nectria multispina. There are groups of 2-4 (usually 3) spines lining each side of the furrow under each arm.

There appear to be differences between eastern and western specimens, and it appears that the eastern forms sometimes grade into Nectria ocellata.

Wilson's Seastar is usually bright orange or red in colour, with some dark reddish markings.

Ecology/Way of Life:

Wilson's Seastar occurs on sand or exposed reef at and below low-tide level, down to 200 metres. It is sometimes found in seagrass areas. Solitary individuals are sometimes seen out in the open.

Preferred Image

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

There appears to be an intergrading of forms in this genus, which should be further investigated. It is unknown if this species is under threat.

Further Reading:

Davey, K. (1988). A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. p. 129, New Holland.

Clark, H.L. (1946). The Echinoderm Fauna of Australia: Its composition and origin. Carnegie Institution of Washington. Publication 566. P. 85 (for N. ocellata).

Edgar, G.J. (1997). Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. p. 340, Reed.

Shepherd, S.A. & Thomas, I.M. (1989). Marine Invertebrates of Southern Australia. pt. I. p. 408, South Aust. Govt. Press.


Resource by Keith Davey.

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Images and Multi-media:  
Attached Image  
image/jpeg 12613 bytes Wilson's Seastar
Distribution Map  
image/gif 1007 bytes Distribution of Wilson's Seastar

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