Wednesday 8 February 2017

Warty Sea Star

Image: Ratha Grimes
Echinaster callosus
Oh, no! There's been a terrible accident in the biological waste bin.
The warts are alive. Repeat: the warts are alive!

Image: Nick Hobgood
The Warty Sea Star is a starfish that happens to look like a pile of blobs got thrown into a star-shaped dough cutter and came alive.

Quite a large dough cutter, too. These starfish can reach almost 30 cm (a foot) across.

Image: Mark Rosenstein
They're known by a whole host of common names: the Warty Sea Star, the Nodular Sea Star, the Callous or Beaded or Banded Bubble Sea Star.

There's no getting around it. Whether they're warts, nodes, beads or bubbles, this starfish is covered in them.

Video: Josh Jensen, Undersea Productions

Warty Sea Stars are found all over the Indo-Pacific and are extremely variable in colour, being white, pink, red, purple or orange. They're actually quite pretty! Certainly a lot prettier than your average pile of warts.

They feel better than your average wart, too. They're soft and puffy, like tiny pin cushions.

Image: Mark Rosenstein
Unfortunately, you still need to avoid touching them too much because each wart surrounds a sharp spine.

So they're a bit like pin cushions, but they're even more like lots of pins wearing cushion suits!


  1. have you covered the Visayan Warty Pig?

  2. Yes! And they're wonderful hairstyles: