Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Published: 2017-05-25

Overview of the Ferdina-like Goniasteridae (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) including a new subfamily, three new genera and fourteen new species

Department of Invertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, PO Box 37012, MRC 163, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. 20013, United States of America.
New species mesophotic zone Ophidiasteridae New Caledonia South Africa Indian Ocean Eosaster n. gen. Ferdina Bathyferdina n. gen. Kanakaster n. gen. Neoferdina Paraferdina Echinodermata


Recent assignment of some goniasterid-like Ophidiasteridae into the Goniasteridae has led to further re-evaluation of other ophidiasterids as possible goniasterids. This led to the discovery of new genera and species supported by a distinctive set of characteristics which support a new subfamily, the Ferdininae, a group originally outlined by Marsh and Price (1991) within the Goniasteridae. The historical Ophidiasteridae is paraphyletic and includes several nominal ophidiasterid genera (e.g., Fromia, Neoferdina, etc.). Newly described material has led to the inclusion of six genera,within this group, of which three, Bathyferdina n. gen., Eosaster n. gen., and Kanakaster n. gen., are newly described. Fourteen new species in five genera are described. This includes Bathyferdina aireyae n. gen., n. sp., Eosaster nadiae n. gen., n. sp., Ferdina mena n. sp., Kanakaster balutensis n. gen., n. sp., Kanakaster convexus n. gen., n. sp., Kanakaster discus n. gen., n. sp., Kanakaster larae n. gen., n. sp., Kanakaster plinthinos n. gen., n. sp., Kanakaster solidus n. gen., n. sp., Neoferdina annae n. sp., Neoferdina antigorum, n. sp., Neoferdina momo, n. sp., Neoferdina oni, n. sp., and Paraferdina plakos, n. sp. Identification keys, synopses, and description of these taxa are included.


  1. Aizenberg, J., Tkachenko, A., Weiner, S., Addadi, L. & Hendler, G. (2001) Calcitic microlenses as part of the photoreceptor system in brittlestars. Nature, 412, 819–822.

    Antokhina, T.I. & Britayev, T.A. (2012) Sea Stars and Their Macrosymbionts in the Bay of Nhatrang, Southern Vietnam. Paleontological Journal, 46 (8), 894–908.

    Blake, D.B. (1978) The taxonomic position of the modern seastar Cistina Gray, 1840. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 91 (1), 234–241.

    Blake, D.B. (1980) On the affinities of three small sea star families. Journal of Natural History, 14, 163–182.

    Blake, D.B. (1987) Classification and phylogeny of post–Paleozoic sea stars (Asteroidea: Echinodermata). Journal of Natural History, 21, 481–528.

    Blake, D.B. & Reid, R. (1998) Some Albian (Cretaceous) Asteroids (Echinodermata) from Texas and their paleobiological implications. Journal of Paleontology, 72 (3), 512–532.

    Bollard, S., Pinault, M., Quod, J.-P., Boissin, E., Hemery, L.G. & Conand, C. (2013) Biodiversity of echinoderms on underwater lava flows with different ages, from the Piton de La Fournaise (Reunion Island, Indian Ocean). Cahiers de Biologie Marine, 54, 491–497.

    Branch, G.M., Griffiths, C.L., Branch, M.L. & Beckley, L.E. (2010) (revised edition). Two Oceans: A guide to the marine life of southern Africa. Struik Nature (Random House), Cape Town, 456 pp.

    Breton, G. (1992) Les Goniasteridae (Asteroidea, Echinodermata) Jurassiques et Crétacés de France: taphonomie, systématique, biostratigraphie, paléobiogéographie, évolution. Thése de Doctorat d’Etat Sciences, Université de Caen. Editions du Muséum du Havre, Cité du Havre, 588 pp.

    Byrne, M., Cisternas, P., Hoggett, A., O’Hara, T., Uthicke, S. (2004) Diversity of Echinoderms at Raine Island, Great Barrier Reef. In: Heinzeller, T. & Nebelsick, J.H. (Eds.), Echinoderms: München. Taylor and Francis Group, London, pp. 159–163.

    Chao, S.–M. (1999) Revision of Taiwan Starfish (Echinodermata: Asteroidea), with Description of Ten New Records. Zoological Studies, 38 (4), 405–415.

    Clark, A.H. (1952) Echinoderms from the Marshall Islands. Proceedings of the U.S. National Museum, 102, 265–303.

    Clark, A.M. (1954) Records of Indo-Pacific Echinoderms. Pacific Science, 8, 243–263.

    Clark, A.M. (1967) Notes on asteroids in the British Museum (Natural History) V. Nardoa and some other ophidiasterids. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) Zoology, 15 (4), 169–198.

    Clark, A.M. (1993) An index of names of recent Asteroidea – Part 2: Valvatida. Echinoderm Studies, 4, 187–366.

    Clark, A.M. & Rowe, F.W.E. (1971) Monograph of Shallow-water Indo-West Pacific Echinoderms. British Museum (Natural History) Publications, 690, ix, 1–238, 31 pls.

    Clark, H.E.S. & McKnight, D.G. (2001) The Marine Fauna of New Zealand: Echinodermata: Asteroidea (sea–stars), Order Valvatida. NIWA Biodiversity Memoir, 117, 1–270.

    Clark, H.L. (1916) A report on the sea–lillies, starfishes, brittlestars, and sea– urchins obtained by the FIS Endeavor on the coasts of Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia. Biological Results of the Fishing Experiments carried on by the F.I.S. Endeavor, 1908–1914. Endeavor Research, 4, 1–123.

    Clark, H.L. (1921) The echinoderm fauna of Torres Strait: Its composition and its origin. Carnegie Institution of Washington Publication, 10, 1–223.

    Clark, H.L. (1946) The Echinoderm fauna of Australia. Publications of the Carnegie Institute of Washington, 566, 1–567.

    Coleman, N. (2007) Sea Stars: Echinoderms of the Asia/Indo–Pacific. Neville Coleman’s Underwater Geographic, Queensland, 136 pp.

    Conand, C., Mulochau, T., Stöhr, S., Eléaume, M. & Chabanet, P. (2016) Inventory of echinoderms in the Iles Eparses (Europa, Glorieuses, Juan de Nova), Mozambique Channel, France. Acta Oecologica, 72, 53–61.

    Crandall, E.D., Treml, E.A., Liggins, L., Gleeson, L., Yasuda, N., Barber, P.H., Wörheide, G. & Riginos, C. (2013) Return of the ghosts of dispersal past: historical spread and contemporary gene flow in the blue sea star Linckia laevigata. Bulletin of Marine Science, 90 (1), 399–425.

    Djakonov, A.M. (1930) Echiniden, Ophiuriden und Asteriden gesammelt von Prof. P.J. Schmidt bei den Riu–Kiu–Inseln im Jahre 1926–1927. Zoologische Jahrbücher, 59, 233–252, pls. 12–13.

    Döderlein, L. (1898) über Krystalkörper bei Seesternen und über die Wachstumserscheinungen und Verwandtschaftabeziehungen von Goniodiscus sebae. Zoologische Forschungsreisen in Australian und dem malayischen Archipelago, 5, 491–503, pls. 38–40.

    Dubois, P. & Hayt, S. (1990) Ultrastructure des ossicules d’échinodermes à stéréome non perforé. In: De Ridder, C., Dubois, P., Lahaye, C. & Jangoux, M. (Eds.), Echinoderm Research. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp. 217–223.

    Dujardin, F. & Hupé, H. (1862) Histoire naturelle des Zoophytes, Echinodermes. Librarie de Roret, Paris, 628 pp., 10 pls.

    Endean, R. (1953) Queensland faunistic records. Part III. Echinodermata (excluding Crinoidea). Papers of the Department of Zoology of the University of Queensland, 1 (3), 51–60.

    Fernando, M. (2006) Coral associated invertebrates: An overview of the current taxonomic status. In: Bambaradeniya, C.N.B. (Ed.), The Fauna of Sri Lanka: Status of Taxonomy, Research, and Conservation. World Conservation Union (IUCN) and Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Colombo, pp. 259–273.

    Fisher, W.K. (1911) Asteroidea of the North Pacific and adjacent waters. 1. Phanerozonia and Spinulosida. Bulletin of the US National Museum, 76, xiii, 1–420.

    Fisher, W.K. (1913) Four new genera and fifty–eight new species of starfishes from the Philippine Islands, Celebes, and the Moluccas. Proceedings of the US National Museum, 43, 599–648.

    Fisher, W.K. (1919) Starfishes of the Philippine seas and adjacent waters. Bulletin of the United States National Museum, 3 (100), 1–547, 156 pls.

    Fisher, W.K. (1925) Sea stars of tropical central Pacific. Bulletin of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum, 27, 63–88, 1 fig., 5–8 pls.

    Fisher, W.K. (1935) Note on a starfish from Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Bulletin of the Raffles Museum, 9, 74.

    Forbes, E. (1841) A history of British starfishes and other animals of the class Echinodermata. John Van Voorst, London, 267 pp.

    George, J.D. & George, J. (1987) The Coral Reefs of the Bodgaya Islands (Sabah: Malaysia) and Pulau Sipadan. 4. Macroinvertebrates. Malayan Nature Journal, 40, 225–260.

    Gibson-Hill, C.A. (1947) The Echinodermata (of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean). Bulletin of the Raffles Museum, 18, 22–26.

    Gorzelak, P., Salamon, M.A., Lach, R., Loba, M. & Ferre, B. (2014) Microlens arrays in the complex visual system of Cretaceous echinoderms. Nature Communications, 5, 3576.

    Gosliner, T.M., Behrens, D.W. & Williams, G.C. (1996) Coral Reef Animals of the Indo–Pacific. Sea Challengers Press, Monterey, CA, 314 pp.

    Gray, J.E. (1840) A synopsis of the genera and species of the class Hypostoma (Asterias Linnaeus). Annals of the Magazine of Natural History, 6, 175–184, 275–290.

    Gray, J.E. (1866) Synopsis of the species of starfish in the British Museum. British Museum, London, 17 pp.

    Gruben E. (1857) Diagnosen einiger neuen Echinodermen. Archiv fur Naturegeschichte, 1857, 340–344.

    Grube, E. (1860) Beschreibunger neuer oder weiniger bekannter seesterne und seeigel. Nova Acta Academiae Caesareae Leopoldino–Carolinae, 27, 3–50, 3 pls.

    Guille, A. & Jangoux, M. (1978) Asterides et ophiurides littorales de la région d’Amboine (Indonésie). Annales de l’Institut Oceanographique, Paris, Nouvelle Serie, 54 (1), 47–74.

    Humann, P. & Deloach, N. (2010) Reef Creature Identification: Tropical Pacific. New World Publications, Jacksonville, Florida, 283 pp.

    James, D.B. (1973) Studies on Indian echinoderms–5. New and little–known starfishes from the Indian Seas. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India, 15 (2), 556–559.

    James, D.B. (1989) Echinoderms of Lakshadweep and their zoogeography. Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute Bulletin: Marine Living Resources of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep: An Indicative Survey With Suggestions For Development, 43, 97–144.

    Jangoux, M. (1973) Le genre Neoferdina Livingstone (Echinodermata, Asteroidea: Ophidiasteridae). Revue de Zoologie et de Botanique Africaines, 87 (4), 775–794.

    Jangoux, M. (1978) Biological results of the Snellius Expedition XXIX. Echinodermata, Asteroidea. Zoologische Mededelingen, 52 (25), 287–300, 3 pls.

    Jangoux, M. (1980) Le genre Leiaster Peters (Echinodermata: Asteroidea: Ophidiasteridae). Revue de Zoologie Africaine, 94, 87–108, pls. 5–8.

    Jangoux, M. (1982) Food and feeding mechanisms: Asteroidea. In: Jangoux, M. & Lawrence, J.M. (Eds.), Echinoderm Nutrition. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp. 117–159.

    Jangoux, M. (1986) Les astérides. In: Guille, A., Laboute, P. & Menou, J.L. (Eds.), Guide des étoiles de mer, oursins et autres échinodermes du lagon de Nouvelle–Calédonie (Handbook of the sea–stars, sea–urchins and related echinoderms of New–Caledonia lagoon), Collection Faune Tropicale, 25, 109–153.

    Jangoux, M. & Aziz, A. (1984) Les astérides (Échinodermes) du centre–ouest de l’océan Indien (Seychelles, Maldives et îles Mineures). Bulletin du Muséum national d’Histoiri naturelle, Paris, 4 (6), 857–884.

    Jangoux, M. & de Ridder, C. (1987) Annotated catalogue of recent echinoderm type specimens in the collection of the Rijksmuseum Van Natuurlijke Histoire at Leiden. Zoologische Mededelingen, 61 (6), 79–96.

    Jangoux, M., de Ridder, C., Massin, C. & Darsono, P. (1989) The holothuroids, echinoids and asteroids (Echinodermata) collected by the Snellius–II Expedition. Netherlands Journal of Sea Research, 23 (2), 161–170.

    King, D. & Fraser, V. (2014) The reef guide: fishes, corals, nudibranchs and other invertebrates. East and South Coasts of Southern Africa. Struik Nature (Random House), Cape Town, 360 pp.

    Koehler, R. (1910) An account of the shallow–water Asteroidea. Echinoderma of the Indian Museum, Part 6, 1–192.

    Kogure, Y. & Fujita, Y. (2012) A new species of Neoferdina and three new records of sea stars (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) collected from Kumejima Island, southwestern Japan. Zootaxa, 3367, 262–260.

    Kuiter, R.H. & Debelius, H. (2009) World Atlas of Marine Fauna. IKAN–Unterwasserarchiv, Frankfurt, 725 pp.

    Lamarck, J.B.P.A. de (1816) Stellerides. Histoire naturelle des animaux sans vertèbres. Tom 2. 1st Edition. Verdière, Paris, 47 pp. [pp. 522–568]

    Lane, D.J.W, Marsh, L.M. Van der Spiegel, D. & Rowe, F.W.E. (2000) Echinoderm fauna of the South China Sea: An inventory and analysis of distribution patterns. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology supplement, 8, 459–493.

    Lane, D.J.W. & Susetiono, Y. (2014) Echinoderm fauna of the Lembeh Strait, North Sulawesi: Inventory and distribution review. Marine Research of Indonesia, 2, 51–61.

    Liao, Y. (1982) A new genus of starfish from the continental shelf of the East China Sea. Studia Marina Sinica, 19, 93–100.

    Liao, Y. & Clark A.M. (1995) The Echinoderms of Southern China. Science Press, Beijing, 614 pp., 23 pls.

    Livingstone, A. (1930) On some new and little–known Australian asteroids. Records of the Australian Museum, 18 (1), 15–24.

    Livingstone, A. (1931) On the restriction of the genus Ferdina Gray (Asteroidea). Australian Zoologist, 6 (4), 305–309.

    Livingstone, A. (1936) Descriptions of new Asteroidea from the Pacific. Records of the Australian Museum, 19, 383–397, pls. 27–28.

    Ludwig, H. (1899) Echinodermen des Sansibargebietes. In: Voeltzbow, A. (Ed.), Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der Reisen in Madagascar und Ostafrika in den Jahren 1889–95. Abhandlungen der Senckenbergischen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft, 21, 537–563.

    Lütken, C. (1865) Kritiske Bemaerkninger om forskellige Söstjerner (Asterider), med Beskrivelse af nogle nye Arter. Videnskabelige Meddelelser Dansk Naturhistorisk Forening, 1864, 123–169.

    Mah, C. (1998) New Records, Taxonomic Notes and a Checklist of Hawaiian Starfish. Bishop Museum Occasional Papers, 55, 65–71.

    Mah, C.L. (2015a) A new Atlantic species of Evoplosoma with taxonomic summary and in situ observations of Atlantic deep–sea corallivorous Goniasteridae (Valvatida; Asteroidea). Marine Biodiversity Records, 8 (e5), 1–8.

    Mah, C.L. (2015b) New species, corallivory, in situ video observations and overview of the Goniasteridae (Valvatida, Asteroidea) in the Hawaiian Region. Zootaxa, 3926 (2), 211–228.

    Mah, C. & Blake, D.B. (2012) Global Diversity and Phylogeny of the Asteroidea (Echinodermata). PLoS ONE, 7(4), e35644.

    Mah, C.L. & Foltz, D.W. (2011) Molecular Phylogeny of the Valvatacea (Asteroidea, Echinodermata). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 161, 769–788.

    Mah, C.L. & Foltz, D.W. (2014) New Taxa and Taxonomic Revisions to the Poraniidae (Valvatacea; Asteroidea) with Comments on Feeding Biology. Zootaxa, 3795 (3), 327–372.

    Marsh, L.M. (1974) Shallow–water Asterozoans of southeastern Polynesia. I. Asteroidea. Micronesica, 10 (1), 65–104.

    Marsh, L.M. (1977) Coral Reef Asteroids of Palau, Caroline Islands. Micornesica, 13 (2), 251–281.

    Marsh, L.M. (1993) Echinoderms of Ashmore Reef and Cartier Island. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement, 44, 53–65.

    Marsh, L.M. (2000) Echinoderms of Christmas Island. Records of the Western Australian Museum, 59 (Supplement), 97–101.

    Marsh, L.M. & Campbell, A.C. (1991) A new species of Ferdina (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) from the Sultanate of Oman with discussion of the relationships of the genus within the family Ophidiasteridae. Bulletin of the British Museum of Natural History, Zoology, 57 (2), 213–219.

    Marsh, L.M. & Price, A.R.G. (1991) Indian Ocean echinoderms collected during the Sinbad Voyage (1980–81): 2. Asteroidea. Bulletin of the British Museum of Natural History, Zoology, 57 (1), 61–70.

    Matsubara, M., Komatsu, M. & Wada, H. (2004) Close relationship between Asterina and Solasteridae (Asteroidea) supported by both nuclear and mitochondrial gene molecular phylogenies. Zoological Science, 21, 785–793.

    Mooseleitner, H. (1990) Shallow water Asteroidea (Echinodermata) from the coral reefs of the Maldive Islands. In: De Ridder, C., Dubois, P., Lahaye, M.C. & Jangoux, M. (Eds.), Echinoderm Research: Second European Conference on Echinoderms, Brussels, Belgium. Balkema, Rotterdam, pp. 337.

    Mooseleitner, H. (2004) Observation of Asteroidea (Echinodermata) around the Indonesian island of Bali. In: Nebelsick, J.H. & Heinzeller, T. (Eds.), Echinoderms München: Proceedings of the 11th International Echinoderms Conference. Taylor & Francis Group, London, pp. 245–248.

    Mortensen, T. (1933) Echinoderms of South Africa (Asteroidea and Ophiuroidea). Videnskabelige Meddelelser fra Dansk naturhistorisk Forening i. Kobenhavn, 93, 215–400.

    Müller, J. & Troschel, F.H. (1842) System der Asteriden. F. Vieweg und Sohn, Braunschweig, xx + 134 pp., 12 pls.

    Oguro, C., Misaki, H. (1986) A new sea–star, Neoferdina japonica, from Japan. Proceedings of the Japan Society of Systematic Zoology, 34, 60–64.

    Okutani, T. (1994) Life on the Coral Reefs (Sangosho no Ikimono). Yama–Kei Publishers, Tokyo, Japan, 320 pp. [in Japanese]

    Perrier, E. (1875) Révision de la collection de stellérides du Muséum d’Histoire naturelle de Paris. Reinwald, Paris, 384 pp.

    Pfeffer, G. (1896) Ostrafrikanische Echiniden, Asteriden und Ophiuriden, gesammelt von Herrn. Dr. F. Stuhlmann im Jahre 1888 und 1889. Mitteilungen. Zoologisches du Staatsinstitut und Hamburg, 13, 43–48.

    Purwati, P. & Lane, D.W. (2004) Asteroidea of the Anambas Expedition 2002. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 11, 89–102.

    Putchakarn, S. & Sonchaeng, P. (2004) Echinoderm Fauna of Thailand: History and Inventory Reviews. Science Asia, 30, 417–428.

    Rowe, F.W.E. (1989) Nine new deep–water species of Echinodermata from Norfolk Island and Wanganella Bank, northeastern Tasman Sea, with a checklist of the Echinoderm fauna. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, 111 (4), 257–291.

    Rowe, F.W.E. & Gates, J. (1995) Echinodermata. In: Wells, A. (Ed.), Zoological Catalogue of Australia. 33. CSIRO Melbourne, Australia, pp. 1–510.

    Rowe, F.W.E. & Richmond, M.D. (2004) A preliminary account of the shallow–water echinoderms of Rodrigues, Mauritius, western Indian Ocean. Journal of Natural History, 38, 3273–3314.

    Saba, M. & Fujita, T. (2006) Asteroidea (Echinodermata) from the Sagami Sea, Central Japan. 1. Paxillosida and Valvatida. Memoirs of the National Science Museum, 41, 251–287.

    Saba, M., Ichimura, S. & Soyama, I. (2002) Sea stars and Brittle stars in Japanese Waters. Hankyu Communications, Tokyo, 136 pp. [in Japanese]

    Sastry, D.R. (2002) Echinodermata associated with coral reefs of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Records of the Zoological Survey of India, 100 (3–4), 21–60.

    Shepherd, S.A. (1968) The shallow water echinoderm fauna of South Australia. Records of the South Australian Museum, 15 (4), 729–756.

    Sladen, W.P. (1889) Asteroidea. Report of the Scientific Results of H.M.S. Challenger, 30, 1–893.

    Utinomi, H. (1962) Recent evidences for northward extensions of the range of some tropical Echinoderms in Japanese waters. Zoological Magazine, Tokyo, 71, 102–108, 9 figs. [in Japanese with English summary]

    Viguier, C. (1878) Classification des Stellérides. Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des Sciences de Paris, 84, 681–583. [also in Annals of the Magazine of Natural History, 2 (5), 103–105]

    Viguier, C. (1879) Anatomie comparée du squelette des Stellérides. Archives de Zoologie Experimentale et Générale, 7, 33–250.

    Vogler, C., Benzie, J., Lessios, H., Barber, P. & Wörheide, G. (2008) A threat to coral reefs multiplied? Four species of crown–of–thorns starfish. Biology Letters, 4, 696–699.

    Vogler, C., Benzie, J., Barber, P.H., Erdmann, M.V.E., Ambariyanto, Sheppard, C., Tenggardjaja, K., Gérard, K. & Wörheide, G. (2012) Phylogeography of the Crown–of–Thorns Starfish in the Indian Ocean. PLoS One, 7 (8), e43499.

    Vogler, C, Benzie, J.A.H., Tenggardjaja, K., Ambariyanto, Barber, P.H. & Wörheide, G. (2013) Phylogeography of the crown–of–thorns starfish: genetic structure within the Pacific species. Coral Reefs, 32 (2), 515–525.

    Wada, H., Komatsu, M. & Satoh, N. (1996) Mitochondrial rDNA phylogeny of the Asteroidea suggests the primitiveness of the Paxillosida. Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution, 6 (1), 97–106.

    Xiao, N. & Liao, Y. (2013) Three new records of deep–water goniasterids (Echinodermata: Asteroidea: Goniasteridae) from China seas. Chinese journal of Oceanology and Limnology, 31 (5), 1036–1044.

    Yamaguchi, M. (1975) Coral-reef asteroids of Guam. Biotropica, 7 (1), 12–23.