Crown-of-thorns starfish

Crown-of-thorns starfish

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Credit: GEORGETTE DOUWMA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci). This starfish lives on coral reefs in the Indo- Pacific region. It has 12 to 19 arms and long spines on its upper surface, which contain glands that release poison into the skin of an attacker. Its mouth is on its lower side, and it feeds on the polyps that build a coral reef. The increase in numbers of this starfish, resulting from man's decimation of its chief predator, poses a serious threat to coral reefs. Photographed in the Andaman Sea, Thailand.

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Keywords: acanthaster planci, andaman sea, animal, bed, coral-eater, coral-feeder, crown of thorns, crown-of-thorns starfish, destroying, destructive, echinoderm, echinodermata, floor, forager, grazer, indo-pacific, invertebrates, marine, nature, ocean, poisonous, sea, seabed, spine, spines, spiny, thai, thailand, toxic, tropical, tropics, underwater, venomous, wildlife, zoology

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