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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Echinodermata
Subphylum: Eleutherozoa
Superclassis: Asterozoa
Classis: Asteroidea
Ordo: Valvatida

Familia: Acanthasteridae
Genus: Acanthaster
Species: A. brevispinus - A. ellisi - A. planci

/!\ A. ellisi is now considered by most sources as a local subspecies of A. planci.


Acanthaster Gervais, 1841

Gervais, P., 1841: Astérie. In: "Plusieurs professeurs du Jardin du Roi" (Eds.), (1840–1841) Dictionnaire des sciences naturelles dans lequel on traite méthodiquement des différents êtres de la nature, ...; suivi d'une biographie des plus célèbres naturalistes. Supplément. Tome I. Ch. Pitoit, Paris, pp. 461–481.

Haszprunar, G.; Spies, M. 2014: An integrative approach to the taxonomy of the crown-of-thorns starfish species group (Asteroidea: Acanthaster): A review of names and comparison to recent molecular data. Zootaxa 3841(2): 271–284. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3841.2.6 Reference page.

Taxonomic references

Gervais, 1841 in the World Register of Marine Species
Acanthaster Gervais, 1841 – Taxon details on Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
Acanthaster – Taxon details on National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Dornenkronenseestern
English: Crown-of-thorns starfish
français: Couronne d'épines
日本語: オニヒトデ
русский: Терновый венец

Acanthaster is a bitypic genus of large and venomous starfish placed in its own family, Acanthasteridae. Its two members are known as crown-of-thorns starfish. Acanthaster are native to Coral reefs in Indo-Pacific region.[2] They are a contributor to coral reefs degradation because at high density they consume a large amount of live coral.[2][3][4]

These species are listed in the World Register of Marine Species:[1]

Acanthaster brevispinus Fisher, 1917
Acanthaster planci (Linnaeus, 1758)

Some sources add Acanthaster ellisi, (Gray, 1840) but it is now considered as a subspecies of A. planci in the eastern Pacific.[5]

Recent molecular work has suggested that Acanthaster planci is a species complex of up to 4 different species that have yet to be separately described (Vogler et al., 2008).

Haszprunar, Vogler & Wörheide (2017)[6] suggest to split "A. planci" in :

Acanthaster planci (Linnaeus, 1758) -- Northern Indian Ocean, always purple-blue and red
Acanthaster mauritiensis de Loriol, 1885 -- Souther Indian Ocean
Acanthaster solaris (Schreber, 1795) -- Pacific Ocean (max. 23 arms)
Acanthaster sp. -- unnamed version from Red Sea (max. 14 arms).


Mah, C. (2012). Acanthaster Gervais, 1841. In: Mah, C.L. (2012). World Asteroidea database. Accessed through: World Register of Marine Species at on 2012-03-23
Pratchett, Morgan S.; Cumming, Graeme S. (October 2019). "Managing cross-scale dynamics in marine conservation: Pest irruptions and lessons from culling of crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster spp.)". Biological Conservation. 238: 108211. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108211. ISSN 0006-3207.
Uthicke, Sven; Fisher, Eric E.; Patel, Frances; Diaz-Guijarro, Beatriz; Doyle, Jason R.; Messmer, Vanessa; Pratchett, Morgan S. (2019-09-30). "Spawning time of Acanthaster cf. solaris on the Great Barrier Reef inferred using qPCR quantification of embryos and larvae: do they know it's Christmas?". Marine Biology. 166 (10). doi:10.1007/s00227-019-3582-5. ISSN 0025-3162.
Gilmour, James P.; Cook, Kylie L.; Ryan, Nicole M.; Puotinen, Marjetta L.; Green, Rebecca H.; Shedrawi, George; Hobbs, Jean-Paul A.; Thomson, Damian P.; Babcock, Russell C.; Buckee, Joanna; Foster, Taryn (2019-08-01). "The state of Western Australia's coral reefs". Coral Reefs. 38 (4): 651–667. doi:10.1007/s00338-019-01795-8. ISSN 1432-0975. S2CID 102484339.
"Acanthaster ellisi". The World Asteroidea Database. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
Gerhard Haszprunar, Catherine Vogler et Gert Wörheide, « Persistent Gaps of Knowledge for Naming and Distinguishing Multiple Species of Crown-of-Thorns-Seastar in the Acanthaster planci Species Complex », Diversity, 2017 (
JS Lucas, « Hybrid crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci X A. brevispinus) reared to maturity in the laboratory », Nature, vol. 263, 1976, p. 409-412 & cover.

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