Revista de Biología Tropical ISSN Impreso: 0034-7744 ISSN electrónico: 2215-2075

Distribution and development patterns in Antarctic asteroids
PDF (Español (España))
HTML (Español (España))
EPUB (Español (España))


Asteroidea; Antarctica, specific composition; bathymetric distribution; developmental patterns.
Asteroidea; Antártida, composición específica; distribución batimétrica; patrones de desarrollo.

How to Cite

Pérez, A. F., Fraysse, C. P., & Ojeda, M. (2024). Distribution and development patterns in Antarctic asteroids. Revista De Biología Tropical, 72(S1), e58868.


Introduction: Echinoderms are dominant in terms of abundance and diversity; particularly asteroids play an important role in Antarctic benthic communities.

Objective: The aim of the present work was to review the bathymetric distribution, specific composition, occurrence and species richness of asteroid species inhabiting South Orkney, South Shetland and Palmer Archipelago, located in the Antarctic Peninsula. Aspects of the developmental patterns of the species found are also included.

Methods: We used data acquired during the 2012 and 2013 Antarctic Summer Campaigns aboard the Oceanographic Vessel “Puerto Deseado”. Sampling stations were located in three archipelagos located in the Antarctic Peninsula: South Orkney (SO), South Shetland (SS) and Palmer Archipelago (PA). A total of 28 fishing hauls were made and 436 individuals were photographed and processed. The maximum radius (mm) of each individual, the macroscopic characteristics of the gonads and the presence of embryos were registered. A review of the taxonomic status, bathymetric and geographical distribution area of the sampled species was carried out based on bibliographic records and databases. A hierarchical grouping was used to analyze species composition among the different areas.

Results: Asteroids were obtained in all sampling stations (occurrence: 100 %) between 52.7 and 987 m depth. 21 species were recorded, the bathymetric distribution was not broadened in any of them, and the geographical distribution area of six species was expanded. Species richness was equal in SS and PA and higher than in SO, coinciding with the presence of two regional groups with a similar faunal composition. Seventy-two percent of the recorded species present pelagic development (planktotrophic larvae = 17 %, and lecithotrophic larvae = 55 %) and 28 % non-pelagic development (retained larvae = 17 %, and direct development = 11 %).

Conclusions: In the three archipelagos, the majority development pattern was pelagic with lecithotrophic nutrition. All the species found in this study are shared with the sub-Antarctic region, highlighting the importance of the Malvinas Current in the dispersal of species from Antarctica.
PDF (Español (España))
HTML (Español (España))
EPUB (Español (España))


Anderson M. J., Gorley, R. N., & Clarke, K. R. (2008). PERMANOVA+ for PRIMER: guide to software and statistical methods (6a versión). PRIMER-E Ltd.

Bernasconi, I. (1962). Asteroideos Argentinos III. Familia Odontasteridae. Revista del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales Bernardino Rivadavia, 9, 1–25.

Bernasconi, I. (1970). Equinodermos antárticos. II. Asteroideos. 3. Asteroideos de la extremidad norte de la Península Antártica. Revista del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales Bernardino Rivadavia 9, 211–281.

Blankley, W. O. (1984). Ecology of the starfish Anasterias rupicola at Marion Island (Southern Ocean). Marine Ecology Progress Series 18, 131–137.

Byrne, M. (1996). Viviparity and intragonadal cannibalism in the diminutive sea stars Patiriella vivipara and P. parvivipara (Family Asterinidae). Marine Biology, 125, 551–567.

Byrne, M. (2005). Viviparity in the sea star Cryptasterina hystera (Asterinidae) conserved and modified features in reproduction and development. The Biological Bulletin, 208, 81–91.

Chia, F. S. (1968). Some observations on the development and cyclic changes of the oocytes in a brooding starfish, Leptasterias hexactis. Journal of Zoology, 154, 453–461.

Chia, F. S. (1974). Classification and adaptive significance of developmental patterns in marine invertebrates. Thalassia Jugoslavica, 10, 121–130.

Chia, F. S, & Walker, C, W. (1991). Echinodermata: Asteroidea. En A. C. Giese, J. S. Pearse, & V. B. Pearse (Eds.), Reproduction of Marine Invertebrates (Vol. 4, pp. 301–331). Boxwood Press.

Clark, A. M., & Downey, M. E. (1992) Starfishes of the Atlantic. Chapman & Hall.

Clarke, A. (1992). Reproduction in the Cold: Thorson Revisited. Invertebrate Reproduction and Development, 22,175–184.

Clarke, A., & Johnston, N. M. (2003). Antarctic marine benthic diversity. En R. N. Gibson, & R. J. A. Atkinson (Eds.), Oceanography and Marine Biology (pp. 47–114). CRC Press.

Clarke, K. R., Somerfield, P. J., & Chapman, M. G. (2006). On resemblance measures for ecological studies, including taxonomic dissimilarities and a zero-adjusted Bray–Curtis coefficient for denuded assemblages. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 330, 55–80.

Dartnall, A. J., Byrne, M., Collins, J., & Hart, M. W. (2003) A new viviparous species of asterinid (Echinodermata, Asteroidea, Asterinidae) and a new genus to accommodate the species of pan-tropical exiguoid sea stars. Zootaxa, 359, 1–14.

De Broyer, C., Clarke, A., Koubbi, P., Pakhomov, E., Scott, F., Vanden Berghe, E., & Danis, B. (2022). Register of Antarctic Marine Species (RAMS).

Dell, R. K. (1972). Antarctic Benthos. Advances in Marine Biology, 10, 1–216.

Douglass, L. L., Turner, J., Grantham, H. S., Kaiser, S., Constable, A., Nicoll, R., Raymond, B., Post, A., Brandt, A., & Beaver, D. (2014). A hierarchical classification of benthic biodiversity and assessment of protected areas in the Southern Ocean. PLoS ONE, 9(7), e100551.

Fisher, W. K. (1940). Asteroidea. Discover Report, 20, 69–306.

Fraysse, C. P. (2021). Distribución, recursos energéticos y metabolismo oxidativo de Asteroideos subantárticos con diferentes estrategias reproductivas. Estudio particular de la incubación [Tesis de Doctorado no publicada]. Universidad de Buenos Aires.

Fraysse, C. P., Boy, C. C., Becker, Y. A., Calcagno, J. A., & Pérez A. F. (2020). Brooding in the Southern Ocean: the case of the pterasterid sea star Diplopteraster verrucosus (Sladen, 1882). The Biological Bulletin, 239(1), 1–12.

Fraysse, C., Calcagno, J., & Pérez, A. F. (2018). Asteroidea of the southern tip of South America, including Namuncurá Marine Protected Area at Burdwood Bank and Tierra del Fuego Province, Argentina. Polar Biology, 41, 2423–2433.

Global Biodiversity Information Facility (2022) Occurrence Download.

Gil, D. G., & Zaixso, H. E. (2007). The relation between feeding and reproduction in Anasterias minuta (Asteroidea: Forcipulata). Marine Biology Research, 3, 256–264.

Gillespie, J. M., & McClintock, J. B. (2007). Brooding in echinoderms: how can modern experimental techniques add to our historical perspective?. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 342, 191–201.

Hamel, J. F., & Mercier, A. (1995). Prespawning behavior, spawning, and development of the brooding starfish Leptasterias polaris. The Biological Bulletin, 188, 32–45.

Himmelman, J. H., Lavergne, Y., Cardinal, A., Martel, G., & Jalbert, P. (1982). Brooding behavior of the northern sea star Leptasterias polaris. Marine Biology, 68, 235–240.

Hyman L. H. (1955). The invertebrates: echinodermata, the coelomate bilateria (Vol. 4). McGraw-Hill.

Janies D. A. (1995). Reconstructing the evolution of morphogenesis and dispersal among velatid asteroids [Tesis de Doctorado, University of Florida]. UF Digital Collections.

Kim, S., & Thurber, A. (2007). Comparison of seastar (Asteroidea) fauna across Island Groups of the Scotia Arc. Polar Biology, 30, 415–425.

Koehler, R. (1912). Échinodermes (astéries, ophiures et échinides). En J. Charcot (Ed.), Deuxième Expédition Antarctique Française (1908–1910) (pp. 1–270). Masson.

Komatsu, M., Kano, Y. T., & Oguro, C. (1990). Development of a true ovoviviparous sea star, Asterina pseudoexigua pacifica. The Biological Bulletin, 179, 254–263.

Kubo, K. (1951). Some observations of the development of the sea-star Leptasterias ochotensis smilispinus (Clark). Journal of the Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University Series VI Zoology, 10, 97–105.

Lawrence, J. M. (1987). A functional biology of echinoderms. Croom Helm.

Lieberkind, I. (1920). On a star-fish (Asterias groenlandica) which hatches its young in its stomach. Vidensk Medd Dan Naturhist Foren, 72, 121–126.

Lieberkind, I. (1926). Ctenodiscus australis Lütken. A brood-protecting asteroid. Vid Dan. Nat Hist Foren 82, 184–196.

Mah, C. L. (2020). World Register of Marine Species.

Mah, C. L., & Blake, D. B. (2012). Global diversity and phylogeny of the Asteroidea (Echinodermata). PLoS ONE, 7, e35644.

Mah, C., Neill, K., Eléaume M, & Foltz, D. (2014). New species and global revision of Hippasteria (Hippasterinae: Goniasteridae; Asteroidea; Echinodermata): Hippasteria revision. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 171, 422–456.

McClary, D. J., & Mladenov, P. V. (1989). Reproductive pattern in the brooding and broadcasting sea star Pteraster militaris. Marine Biology, 103, 531–540.

McClary, D. J., & Mladenov, P. V. (1990). Brooding biology of the sea star Pteraster militaris (OF Müller): energetic and histological evidence for nutrient translocation to brooded juveniles. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 142, 183–199.

McEdward, L., & Miner, B. (2001). Larval life-cycle patterns in echinoderms. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 79, 1125–1170.

Mileikovsky, S. A. (1971). Types of larval development in marine bottom invertebrates, their distribution and ecological significance: a reevaluation. Marine Biology, 10, 193–213.

Moreau, C. (2019). Diversity and phylogeography of Southern Ocean sea stars (Asteroidea) (Tesis de Doctorado, Université libre de Bruxelles]. HAL Thèses.

Murray, J. (1895). General Observations on the Distribution of Marine Organisms. In Report on Scientific Research, Voyage H.M.S. Challenger 1873–1876. A Summary of the Scientific Results (2a parte, pp. 1431–1462). Order of Her Majesty’s Government.

Pearse, J. S., & Bosch I. (1994). Brooding in the Antarctic: Östergren Had It Nearly Right. In B. David, A. Guille, J. P. Féral, & M. Roux (Eds.), Echinoderms through time (pp. 111–120). Rotterdam.

Pearse, J. S., McClintock, J. B., & Bosch, I. (1991). Reproduction of antarctic benthic marine invertebrates: tempos, modes, and timing. American Zoologist, 31, 65–80.

Pearse, J. S., Mooi, R., Lockhart, S. J., & Brandt, A. (2009). Brooding and species diversity in the Southern Ocean: Selection for brooders or speciation within brooding clades? Smithsonian at the poles: contributions to International Polar Year science (pp. 181–196). Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press.

Pérez, A. F., Boy, C. C., Calcagno, J., & Malanga, G. (2015). Reproduction and oxidative metabolism in the brooding sea star Anasterias antarctica (Lütken, 1957). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 463, 150–157.

Poulin, E., Palma, A. T., & Féral, J. P. (2002). Evolutionary Versus Ecological Success in Antarctic Benthic Invertebrates. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 17, 218–222.

Reyes-Bonilla, H., González-Azcárraga, A., & Rojas-Sierra, A. (2005). Estructura de las asociaciones de las estrellas de mar (Asteroidea) en arrecifes rocosos del Golfo de California, México. Revista de Biologia Tropical, 53(S3), 233–244.

Rivadeneira, P. R., Brogger, M. I., & Penchaszadeh, P. E. (2017). Aboral brooding in the deep water sea star Ctenodiscus australis Lütken, 1871 (Asteroidea) from the Southwestern Atlantic. Deep Sea Research, 123, 105–109.

Salvat, M. B. (1985). Biología de la reproducción de Anasterias minuta Perrier (Echinodermata, Asteroidea): Especie incubadora de las costas patagónicas [Tesis de Doctorado, Universidad de Buenos Aires]. UBAEXACTAS.

Sladen, W. P. (1889). Report on the Asteroidea collected by HMS Challenger. Zoology, 30, 893.

Strathmann R. R., Strathmann, M. F., & Emson, R. H. (1984). Does limited brood capacity link adult size, brooding, and simultaneous hermaphroditism? A test with the starfish Asterina phylactica. The American Naturalist, 123(6), 796–818.

Tablado A. (1982). Asteroideos Argentinos Familia Poraniidae. Comunicaciones del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia”. Hidrobiología, 2, 87–106.

Thomson, C. W. (1876). Notice of Some Peculiarities in the Mode of Propagation of Certain Echinoderms of the Southern Sea. Journal of the Linnean Society of London, Zoology, 13, 55–79.

Thomson, C. W. (1885). Notes on the reproduction of certain echinoderms from the Southern Ocean. In Report on Scientific Research, Voyage H.M.S. Challenger 1873–1876. (Vol. 1, 1a parte, pp. 379–396). Order of Her Majesty’s Government.

Verril, A. E. (1914). Monograph of the Shallow-water Starfishes of the North Pacific Coast from the Arctic Ocean to California. Science, 40(1032), 523–525.


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Download data is not yet available.