Story: Marine invaders

Northern Pacific sea star

Northern Pacific sea star

The Northern Pacific sea star has distinctive upturned tips. These starfish have done enormous damage in Tasmania and South Australia. They consume shellfish at an alarming rate, reproducing and feeding until all available food is eliminated, and then they turn on each other.

They survive well in cool waters from 5°C to 20°C, so the New Zealand environment would suit them. They have a long larval stage so they can easily survive ocean crossings in ballast water. Juveniles could also arrive attached to hulls, and adults could be concealed in sea chests. The Ministry of Fisheries and Biosecurity New Zealand are attempting to prevent its introduction.

Using this item

NOAA
Reference: AFSC, NMFS, Kodiak Lab
Photograph by Jan Haaga

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How to cite this page:

Christina Troup, 'Marine invaders - Preventing future invasions', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/8680/northern-pacific-sea-star (accessed 5 December 2021)

Story by Christina Troup, published 12 Jun 2006