Acanthaster planci (Linnaeus, 1758)
Acanthaster planci in its current usage does not in fact refer to a single species, but a pan-Indo-Pacific species complex consisting of four deeply diverged clades (Pacific, Red Sea, Northern Indian Ocean, and Southern Indian Ocean; see Vogler et al., 2008). These clades reportedly diverged between 1.95 and 3.65 Million years ago (Pliocene to Early Pleistocene) and have genetic distances (8.8 to 10.6 %) equivalent to the distances between other sibling species of starfish (Waters et al. 2004). Vogler et al. (2008) propose that this speciation process was driven by sea level changes (Pillans et al., 1998), isolating populations.
Vogler C, Benzie J, Lessios H, Barber P, Wörheide G (2008). "A threat to coral reefs multiplied? Four species of crown-of-thorns starfish". Biology Letters (Royal Society) 4: 696.
Acanthaster echinites (Ellis & Solander, 1786) (synonym according to Verrill (1914))
Acanthaster echinus Gervais, 1841 (Synonym according to Fisher (1919))
Acanthaster ellisi (Gray, 1840)
Acanthaster mauritiensis de Loriol, 1885 (Synonym according to Madsen (1955))
Acanthaster pseudoplanci Caso, 1962
Acanthaster solaris Schreber, 1793 (Synonym according to Madsen (1955))
Asterias echinites Ellis & Solander, 1786 (Synonym according to Verrill (1914))
Asterias echinus Verrill, 1914
Asterias planci Linnaeus, 1758
Asterias solaris Schreber, 1793 (Synonym according to Madsen (1955))
Stellonia echinites L. Agassiz, 1836 (synonym according to Verrill (1914))
References and links
Bell, F.J. (1909). Report on the echinodermata (other than holothurians) collected by Mr J. Stanley Gardiner in the Western parts of the Indian Ocean. Transactions of the Linnean Society Second series 13: 17-20.
Clark, A.M. (1993). An index of names of recent Asteroidea, part 2: Valvatida, in: Jangoux, M.; Lawrence, J.M. (Ed.) (1993). Echinoderm Studies, 4: pp. 187-366
Clark, A.M. and F.W.E. Rowe. (1971). Monograph of Shallow-water Indo-West Pacific Echinoderms. Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History): London.
Rowe, F.W.E & Gates, J. (1995). Zoological Catalogue of Australia 33. Echinodermata. Melbourne: CSIRO Australia, 510 pp.
C. Vogler, J. Benzie, H.A. Lessios , P. Barber and G. Wörheide. 2008. A threat to coral reefs multiplied? Four species of crown-of-thorns starfish. Biol. Lett. 4: 696-699.
Ecology and Distribution
In Panama this species occurs in the Gulf of Chiriqui but not the Gulf of Panama. It has been collected from Contreras Island (USNM E 14042, USNM E 11729; Centroid Latitude: 7.82, Centroid Longitude:-81.7750), from a depth of 2 to 8 m, and from Secas Island (USNM E 14043), from a depth of 10 m, Gulf of Chiriqui, eastern Pacific.