Petricia vernicina (Lamarck, 1816)

Common Name: 
Velvet Seastar
Distribution: 

Uncommon in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed around the southern coast of Australia, from Houtman Abrolhos in the west to Caloundra in the east and including Bass Strait and Tasmania, Norfolk Is, Lord Howe Is and Kermadec Island

Ecological Notes: 

Benthic species found on continental inshore temperate waters to a depth of about 60m.

Additional Notes: 

Feeds on encrusting invertebrates, especially bryozoans, sponges and ascidians. Distinguishing feature is the broad body in relation to the length of the arms as well as the respiratory pappillae visible on the dorsal surface. Colouration variable, shades of pink through red. Sometimes called the Velvet Seastar because of its soft, spongy appearance. Grows to about 90 mm diameter.

References: 

Graham J. Edgar. Australian Marine Life, 2nd Edition, 2008. Reed New Holland Publishers. p.394.

Atlas of Living Australia website at https://bie.ala.org.au/search?q=Petricia+vernicina. Accessed 12/10/2018.