|Image taken by Jan Mees. From the World Registry of Marine Species|
This is a shallow-water tropical species known primarily from the western Indian Ocean, especially on the east African coast. The species descriptor "lincki" is named for the German naturalist Johann Heinrich Linck, the author of a noted monograph on sea stars, De stellis marinis liber singularis published in 1733. Johann Linck is also the namesake of the familiar starfish genus Linckia. Many years ago I wrote a little bit about where funky starfish names come from before, especially Nardoa and Luidia.
|Image taken by Adrian Pingstone 2005 at Bristol Zoo Aquarium, Bristol, England via Wikipedia|
The spines on this species and other oreasterid starfish likely serve against larger predators. Its unclear if they are effective against smaller specialized echinoderm predators such as these harlequin shrimp
Variation! The skeletal patterns on these sea stars are broadly consistent and distinctive for this species. But in the same way that people can have different hair and skin color, different facial features, etc. starfish show variation in spination, pattern and even color...
Here are some examples. Its unclear if the differences are simply random or if they correspond to some kind of environmental factor such as food, etc.
Tanzania, African coast.
Tanzania, African coast
Zanzibar, African coast
and the occasional 6 armed variant..
As with the Indo-Pacific species, P. nodosus, this species is fished for the tourist trade. Data about its reproductive abilities and "carrying capacity" for a fishery aren't well documented.
ART! For some odd reason, this species has also served as the inspiration for many distinct types of art. This postage stamp...for Mozambique in 1982 and the more recent rendition below it, including the pastel and of course TATTOOS!
starfish tattoo by SunofKyuss on DeviantArt
Happy Holidays from the Echinoblog!