Culcita (echinoderm)

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Cushion Star (Culcita Novaguineae) (25 cm).png
Culcita novaeguineae
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Echinodermata
Class: Asteroidea
Order: Valvatida
Family: Oreasteridae
Genus: Culcita
(Agassiz, 1836)

Culcita is a genus of cushion stars. They are found in tropical waters. Some are kept in home aquariums.

Description and characteristics[edit]

These are very particular stars, plump and pillow-shaped, more or less pentagonal. Their five arms have waned to only obtuse angles (and sometimes rounded off or truncated). They can measure up to 30 cm in diameter, and are typical of Indo-Pacific coral reefs, where they feed on benthic invertebrates and coral.

Both species Culcita novaeguineae and Culcita schmideliana are extremely similar and almost impossible to differentiate by sight, except that C. schmideliana seems to wear more often conical granules on its aborale face. They are thus distinguished mostly by their area of distribution: C. schmideliana lives in the Indian Ocean (from Africa to the Maldives), and C. novaeguineae in Oceania and the Pacific Ocean. The third species, C. coriacea, lives in the Red Sea and around Arabia, and is slightly different in appearance.

This genus is not to be confused with similar cushion-shaped species such as Halityle regularis.[1]

The juveniles are flat and pentagonal, and can look like "biscuit sea stars" from the family Goniasteridae (such as Peltaster spp.).[2]

List of species[edit]

The genus contains three species:[3]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Mah, Christopher L. "A simple guide to Tropical "cushion stars"! Halityle vs. Culcita spp.!!". The Echinoblog. 
  2. ^ Mah, Christopher L. "The Cushion star Culcita novaeguineae: An exercise in growth-related taxonomic confusion!". The Echinoblog. 
  3. ^ Christopher Mah (2009). C. L. Mah, ed. "Culcita (Agassiz, 1836)". World Asteroidea database. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved July 18, 2010.