Cushion Star

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Culcita novaeguineae - Muller & Troschel, 1842
Cushion Star

These hardy stars need a large tank stocked with the appropriate corals for it to feed on. Scott W. Michael


This coral-eating sea star hardly looks like a sea star when full grown, because large individuals become almost spherical with only a hint of having arms. Only when the animal is turned over do the central mouth and five star-shaped rows of tube feet reveal its identity.

This star is seen in shades of red, brown, black, or green and may have patches of yellow highlighting.

Family: Oreasteridae

Other common name(s):

  • Bun Starfish
  • Pincushion Star

Native range:

Maximum length: 30 cm (12 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 380 L (100 gal)

Lighting: Immaterial.

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)


Feeds on live corals; may scavenge a bit.

Aquarium Compatibility

Not safe in a coral reef aquarium. Triton’s trumpet snails will eat this species, but as an adult it is likely to have no other enemies.

Special Care

It may be kept in reef tanks, provided the tank is large enough and stocked with the appropriate corals for it to feed on. It requires standard reef temperatures and salinity.


Smaller individuals are star-shaped; as they grow, the inter-ray areas fill in and expand relative to the tube-foot rows. With full-strength salinity and plenty of food, the Cushion Star will be quite hardy.

Reference: A PocketExpert Guide to Marine Invertebrates
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: RLS