New e-guide on the common starfish of the Ross Sea region, Antarctica

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The seafloor of the Ross Sea region is covered in ice for much of the year, but many benthic sea creatures live and thrive there. For example, did you know that there are over 35 species of asteroid (starfish or sea stars) that occur in this region of Antarctica? The common Antarctic asteroid species can now be discovered in a brand new electronic identification guide (e-guide).

Initially launched in 2012, the range of e-guides produced by NIWA’s Coasts and Oceans group have been developed to help amateur marine biologists identify the inspirational invertebrates and stunning seaweeds they find around them at the beach and in the water. This guide will be useful to expedition staff, ice divers or fisheries observers who are lucky enough to visit this amazing region.

Amazing Antarctic asteroids is a fully illustrated working e-guide to the more common starfish of the Ross Sea, Antarctica. Each species page illustrates and describes features that enable you to differentiate the species from each other. Species are illustrated with high quality images of the starfish. Colour images have been used where available, but some are of preserved specimens. As far as possible, we have used characters that can be seen by eye or magnifying glass, and language that is non-technical.

Amazing Antarctic asteroids is one in a series of e-guides available now for download and more e-guides are currently being developed. NIWA says it will also be updating the existing e-guides online as new species are discovered and described.

You can download the e-guides for free on our website

Labidiaster annulatus Sladen, 1889. A large, many-armed starfish found on the fringes of the Ross Sea and around the islands and seamounts just north of it. [NIWA, DTIS Camera, IPY-CAML 2008]

Lophaster gaini Koehler, 1912. This colourful species is found throughout the Ross Sea and around the Balleny Islands just north of the Ross Sea. [Peter Marriott, NIWA]

Odontaster validus Koehler, 1906. This species is the most common starfish in Antarctica. It occurs over a wide range of depths, and is sometimes found in large numbers. [Rod Budd, NIWA]

Front cover of Amazing Antarctic Asteroids, the newly released guide to the common starfish of the Ross Sea region, Antarctica.
Research subject: Biodiversity