BIOTIC Species Information for Astropecten irregularis
Researched byMorvan Barnes & Sean Lindsley-Leake Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byThis information is not refereed
Scientific nameAstropecten irregularis Common nameA starfish
MCS CodeZB25 Recent SynonymsCrenaster d'Orbigny, 1850

PhylumEchinodermata SubphylumAsterozoa
Superclass ClassAsteroidea
Subclass OrderPaxillosida
Suborder FamilyAstropectinidae
GenusAstropecten Speciesirregularis

Additional Information
Taxonomy References Hayward et al., 1996, Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Picton, 1993, Fish & Fish, 1996, Mortensen, 1927, Howson & Picton, 1997,
General Biology
Growth formStellate
Feeding methodPredator
Environmental positionEpibenthic
Typical food typesLarge benthic invertebrates including molluscs, particularly the clam Spisula subtruncata, polychaetes, crustaceans, and other echinoderms and carrion. HabitFree living
Bioturbator FlexibilityHigh (>45 degrees)
FragilityIntermediate SizeSmall-medium(3-10cm)
Heightnot relevant Growth Rate17 cm/year at most
Adult dispersal potential1km-10km DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional InformationGrowth rate
There is considerable irregularity in the growth rate of starfish, especially during their first year. Growth rates of Astropecten irregularis are also highly seasonal and dependent on food availability, reaching 17 cm/year. Maximum growth occurs between March and April and between August and November.
Biology References Hayward et al., 1996, Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Picton, 1993, Fish & Fish, 1996, Mortensen, 1927, Freeman et al, 2001,
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandFound throughout British and Irish coastal waters.
Global distributionFound in north-west European waters, predominantly in the British Isles and Ireland but also north-east France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark and Norway.
Biogeographic rangeTemperate. Depth range10 to 1000 m.
MigratorySeasonal (feeding)   
Distribution Additional Information

Substratum preferencesGravelley sand
Muddy sand
Fine clean sand
Coarse clean sand
Physiographic preferencesStrait / sound
Offshore seabed
Open coast
Biological zoneBathybenthic (Bathyal)
Circalittoral Offshore
Lower Circalittoral
Upper Circalittoral
Lower Infralittoral
Upper Infralittoral
Wave exposureField unresearched
Tidal stream strength/Water flowField unresearched
SalinityFull (30-40 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References Hayward et al., 1996, Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, Picton, 1993, Fish & Fish, 1996, Mortensen, 1927, NBN, 2002, Picton & Costello, 1998, JNCC, 1999,
Reproduction/Life History
Reproductive typeGonochoristic
Developmental mechanismLecithotrophic
Reproductive SeasonMay to June Reproductive LocationWater column
Reproductive frequencyAnnual episodic Regeneration potential Yes
Life span3-5 years Age at reproductive maturity2-3 years
Generation timeInsufficient information FecundityInsufficient information
Egg/propagule size100-200 µm Fertilization typeExternal
Larval/Juvenile dispersal potential>10km Larval settlement periodInsufficient information
Duration of larval stage11-30 days   
Reproduction Preferences Additional InformationThere is a great deal of variation within the genus for larval duration and egg size. Larger egg size corresponds with shorter larval period. There is also variation in the developmental mechanism with Grant & Tyler (1986) describing planktotrophic binnaria larvae for Astropecten irregularis and McEdward & Janies (1993) describing lecithotrophic larvae.
Reproduction References McEdward & Janies, 1993, Freeman et al, 2001, McEdward & Morgan, 2001, Newth, 1925, Henry et al, 1991, Obrebski, 1979, Grant & Tyler, 1986, Tillin et al., 2006,
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