Goose foot starfish (Anseropoda placenta)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



Anseropoda placenta is a distinctly flattened species up to 20 cm in diameter. It has five short, webbed arms, which give a pentagonal to sub-pentagonal body outline with concave sides. The skin has a granular texture due to small groups of fine spines (paxillae) arranged in regular, radiating rows on the upper and lower surfaces with paxillae on the oral side being slightly larger. Tube feet are arranged in two rows bearing sucking discs. No pedicellariae are present and papulae (soft projections) are confined to the centre of the disc and mid-lines of rays. This species has on its upper surface a red or pink disc and lines radiating along the arms with pale pink or white between them. It's underside is yellow with a conspicuous red band around the margins.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Records extend throughout the British Isles with few records on the east coast. This species may be under recorded.

Global distribution



This species occurs subtidally from 10-500 m depth. It can usually be found on or buried in sand with gravel, shell or mud. Smaller individuals may also be found under shells.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Flattened starfish up to 20 cm diameter.
  • The five short webbed arms giving pentagonal to sub-pentagonal appearance.
  • Covered in fine spines giving granulated texture.
  • Dorsally white with red or pink disc and arms.

Additional information

Anseropoda placenta feeds on benthic crustaceans (amphipods, cumaceans, mysids, crabs and hermit crabs), molluscs and echinoderms. This species has no known predators (Mortensen, 1927) and no other similar shallow water species. It breeds in the summer producing large eggs. The copepod Asterocheres siphonatus has been associated with Anseropoda placenta by Gotto (1993, 2004).


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  2. Costello, M.J., Bouchet, P., Boxshall, G., Emblow, C. & Vanden Berghe, E., 2004. European Register of Marine Species [On-line].,

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  5. Gotto, V., 1993. Commensal and parasitic copepods associated with marine invertebrates. London: Academic Press. [Synopses of the British Fauna (New Series) No. 46.]

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  8. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  9. MBA (Marine Biological Association), 1957. Plymouth Marine Fauna. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.

  10. Mortensen, T.H., 1927. Handbook of the echinoderms of the British Isles. London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press.

  11. Picton, B.E., 1993. A field guide to the shallow-water echinoderms of the British Isles. London: Immel Publishing Ltd.

  12. Southward, E.C. & Campbell, A.C., 2006. Echinoderms. The Linnean Society of London. Avon: The Bath Press. [Synopses of the British Fauna No. 56.]


  1. Cofnod – North Wales Environmental Information Service, 2018. Miscellaneous records held on the Cofnod database. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-09-25.

  2. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

  3. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-06-20


This review can be cited as:

Rowley, S.J. 2007. Anseropoda placenta Goose foot starfish. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 20-06-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 25/01/2007