Known introduction to Australia
Asterias amurensis (northern Pacific seastar)
Andrew Cohen, San Fransisco Estuary Institute
CRIMP, CSIRO Marine Research
Size at maturity estimated as 3.6-5.5cm (Nojima et al., 1986). Arm MorphologyLength in Tokyo Bay 4.6cm females and 4.7cm males at maturity (Kim 1968). Arm MorphologyLength in Mutsu Bay is 5.5cm for both females and males at maturity (Kim 1968).
40-50cm in diameter. Largest Tasmanian specimen 203 mm (Buttermore et al. 1994).
Uniophora granifera Lamarck, 1816
Please use the following citation for this material
NIMPIS 2013, Asterias amurensis general information, National Introduced Marine Pest Information System, viewed 20 May 2013 <http://www.marinepests.gov.au/nimpis>.
A. amurensis is mainly found in coastal areas that are protected from wave action. It is found in intertidal and subtidal zones, and in its native Japan has been recorded at a depth of 200m. In Australia, it is not found at such depths, but on shallower (<25m) soft sediment habitats and reefs.
Habitat classificationFor the purposes of NIMPIS, habitats have been divided into four categories: Hard, soft, water and organism. The habitat types assigned to these categories reflect the variety of substrata available for organisms to colonise. Habitat types listed for this species are those that have been recorded in the literature.
This category contains both natural and artificial habitats that are solid, fixed or permanent substrata. Species can reside on (e.g. attached externally) or within (e.g. boring into) the habitat type.
This category contains habitats that are not fixed or permanent, and are able to be affected by water movement. Species can reside on (e.g. living on the sediment-water interface) or within (e.g. burrowing into) the habitat type.
Habitat survival parameters
No death after 10 days at 1 °C (Marsh 1993). Adults lose weightbelow 4 deg C and above 20 deg C (Hatanaka & Kosaka 1959;Park & Kim 1985). 0-25 °C ambient Japan (Ino et al 1955). Survived 12 hours in laboratory at 4 °C (Clapin 1996). In the Mediterranean, found in 11 °C (Giangrande and Petraroli 1994).
Ino et al (1955) sampled A. amurensis from waters of 25 °C in Tokyo Bay; Park & Kim (1985) reported death at 25 °C. The following temperatures have been recorded for survival of this species around the world: 0-25 °C ambient Japan (Ino et al 1955); 14-15 °C (Kume and Dan 1968 in Kasyanov et al. 1998); 14 °C North/central Yellow Sea (Liao 1982); 6-14 °C Hokkaido (Hawkes & Day, 1993); 6-14 °C Tonkin Bay (Ino et al. 1955 in Kasyanov et al. 1998); 6.2-13.6 °C Tokyo Bay and Sendai Bay (Hawkes & Day, 1993); 13 °C (Hatanaka and Kosaka 1959); 8-11 °C Sendai Bay (Hatanaka and Kosaka 1958 in Kasyanov et al. 1998); 6-16 °C Ariake Sea (Nojima et al. 1986); 9-13 °C optimum (Davenport and McLoughlin 1993). A. amurensis observed in the intertidal zone of the Derwent River estuary during peak of summer (Feb 2000), no death observed (S. Ling, pers. obs.). Mortality has been recorded at the following temperatures: 25 °C (Park and Kim 1985); upper limit 23 °C (Davenport and McLoughlin 1993).
Healthy A amurensis found in Hendersons Lagoon on the eastcoast of Tasmania in 18.7 ppt (Craig Proctor, CSIRO, pers. comm). In the Derwent Estuary, A.amurensis was present in salinities between 28.5 ppt and 34.8 ppt (Morrice 1995). Survive immersion in 26ppt but at 24ppt seastars were dead in nine days (Sutton and Bruce 1996; Marsh, 1993). Seastars in 0ppt suceptible after 2 hours, 85% mortality <48hours recovery period, although this varies with temperature (Gunthrope et al. 2001). In Vostok Bay (Japan) A. amurensis has a lower salinity tolerance of 24 ppt (Kashenko 2003).
22-41ppt optimal (Thomas et al 1981 and McGraw and Naylor 1992 in Cohen et al 1995); Derwent estuary ambient salinities 28.5-34.8ppt (Morrice 1995).
Reproduction and growthA. amurensis is capable of both sexual and asexual reproduction. Males and females are separate, releasing eggs and sperm into the water during winter. Females are capable of producing 10-25 million eggs per year. Fertilisation is external, and larvae can remain in the water column for about 120 days. The seastar is also capable of regeneration. This asexual reproduction is only possible if part of the central disc of the seastar is attached to the broken arm. The growth rate of Asterias is approximately 6mm per month in the first year, after which growth slows to about 1-2 mm per month.
|Minimum reproductive temperature||5.0 °C Kim (1968)|
|Maximum reproductive temperature||23.0 °C Novikova (1978)|
|Cues||Ovaries mature when levels of 3', 5'-monophosphate (cGMP) decrease, reinitiating meiosis in oocytes (Nemoto & Ishida, 1983).|
|Strategy||Dioecious, free spawners (fertilisation external) (ectosomaticly) (Kim, 1968), asexually through regeneration from an arm with part of the central disk attached (McLoughlin & Thresher, 1994; Ward & Andrew, 1995).|
|Season||Japan, Tokyo Bay: January- April, peak in late February-early March (Ino et al., 1955). Mutsu Bay: March- April, Hokkaido, July (Hawkes & Day, 1993). USSR: Peter the Great Bay, spawn twice, June & Sept., Tasmania: July-Oct. (Hawkes & Day, 1993).|
Age to maturity 365 days
4cm (5cm sexually reproductive) (Turner, 1992). Size at maturity estimated as 3.6-5.5cm (Nojima et al., 1986). Arm MorphologyLength of A. amurensis in Tokyo Bay was 46mm for female and 47 mm for males at maturity (Kim, 1968). Arm MorphologyLength of A. amurensis in Mutsu Bay was 55 mm for male and female seastars at maturity (Kim, 1968).
Please use the following citation for this material
NIMPIS 2013, Asterias amurensis reproduction and habitat, National Introduced Marine Pest Information System, viewed 20 May 2013 <http://www.marinepests.gov.au/nimpis>.
Trophic status: carnivore
A. amurensis is a selective or opportunistic predator depending on the food that is available. Typically it feeds on large bivalves such as mussels, scallops and clams, as well as gastropods, crabs and barnacles. It has been observed feeding on dead seastars and fish.
|adult||Selective or opportunistic feeders depending on food availability (Turner, 1992). Recent work in Tasmania has shown that while A. amurensis is a generalist predator, it has clear food preferences for bivalves (including several commercial species) that live on or just below the sediment surface (Ross et al. 2002). The size of the prey usually equals the length of the seastar's arm(Kim, 1969; Turner, 1992). Capable of stripping algae from the seabed (Turner, 1992). Observed feeding on other seastars, dead fish and are at times cannibalistic (Davenport & McLoughlin, 1993). Can dig shallow pits in search of prey (Hawkes & Day, 1993). Experimental and field trials in Victoria showed that Australian scallops did not 'recognise' A. amurensis as a predator - low frequencies of escape response were observed compared to native seastars such as Coscinasterias muricata (Hutson et al. 2005).|
|Stage: adult||Uniophora granifera, Coscinasterias muricata (Morrice, 1995). Odobenus rosmarus divergens (Pacific walruses) (Fukuyama & Oiver, 1985).|
PredatorsIn its native Japan, Solaster paxillatus (a sunstar) has been noted as a predator of A. amurensis. In laboratory experiments in Korea, Charonia sp. (trumpet shell) was seen to prefer A. amurensis as their prey over other sea stars, sea cucumbers and sea urchins. The predation of A. amurensis by king crabs in Alaskan aquaria has also been observed.
Please use the following citation for this material
NIMPIS 2013, Asterias amurensis feeding and predators, National Introduced Marine Pest Information System, viewed 20 May 2013 <http://www.marinepests.gov.au/nimpis>.
ImpactsA. amurensis is a voracious predator and in its native range is a major pest for the Japanese shellfish farming industry. In Australia, the seastar feeds on a wide range of native animals and can have a major effect on the recruitment of native shellfish populations that form important components of the marine food chain. Recent studies indicate that the seastar is now affecting commercial shellfish production in southeast Tasmania.
Descriptions of the vector types that are relevant to this species are displayed below.
Natural dispersalNatural dispersal is a mechanism for the range expansion of a species through natural processes such as the movement of larvae or adults to a new location. As an example, through passive movement in water currents; or active movement (migration) in response to changes in environmental conditions such as salinity changes or water flow dynamics. Natural dispersal also allows for the successful settlement of recruits in a new location. The only vector associated with this class is: Natural dispersal
VesselsThis class encompasses vectors associated with maritime transport and shipping activities. Vessels includes; commercial ships (e.g. tankers, container ships, ferries, barges), fishing vessels, recreational vessels, passenger vessels, drilling platforms and research vessels. An example of a vector from this class is ballast water,which has been found to transport up to 10 000 different species at any one time. Other vectors associated with this class include: dry ballast, biofouling community
|Biofouling||Fouling communities are typically composed of encrusting or sessile species, however they can include mobile species. This vector can introduce species through a variety of means. Three examples are: (1) The spawning of a fouling species on a vessel in port and its successful settlement and establishment of a reproductive population; (2) The dislodgement of fouling species from a vessel in port through abrasion with wharf structures, ropes, etc., or through in water vessel hull cleaning (banned in Australia) or through high vessel speeds, etc.; and (3) The sinking of fouled vessels either deliberately or accidentally can introduce new species to a location. There are a variety of vectors capable of having a fouling community. Characteristics of a fouling community found on wooden boat hulls include: having a wood boring habit; a benthic sessile or encrusting stage; and mobile adults or larval stages. Fouling communities found within sea chests, anchor wells etc. often are mobile crevice occupying species or known obligate associate of fouling species and can escape into new locations.|
|Ballast water||The release of species in ballast water discharged from vessels. Various types and life stages of species can be transported in ballast water, including plankton, crustaceans, fish, larvae, eggs or cysts. Ballast water is used in commercial vessels to stabilise the vessel and is uploaded or discharged depending on the amount of cargo onboard. Ballast water as a vector also includes sediments that accumulate in the bottom of ballast tanks. Species that are able to survive within these sediments include those that have a resistant stage or resting cyst (eg. dinoflagellates) as well as adult stages of benthic organisms.|
|Dry ballast||The accidental release of species with solid ballast. Though solid ballast has predominantly been replaced by ballast water, it historically was used in vessels to stabilise the ship during transit. Dry ballast included rocks, sand, wood and other substrata collected from the foreshore and hence many intertidal species were also unintentionally included. When no longer required, this dry ballast was disposed of, usually overboard or onto the foreshore for subsequent use, releasing organisms to a new environment.|
|Fisheries - accidental (not mollusc)||The accidental translocation of species through aquaculture and fisheries activities. This vector includes the accidental release of live fish, crustaceans and molluscs (other than oysters) imported for human consumption, This vector also includes the accidental translocation of species attached to aquaculture gear (floats, cages, etc).|
|Packing material||The accidental release of species associated with seaweed (and other packing materials) for bait and fishery products. These packaging materials are often disposed of at sea by fishers, which can release organisms into the marine environment.|
|Fisheries - accidental (products)||The accidental translocation of species through aquaculture and fisheries activities. This vector includes the accidental release of live fish, crustaceans and molluscs (other than oysters) imported for human consumption, This vector also includes the accidental translocation of species attached to aquaculture gear (floats, cages, etc).|
Please use the following citation for this material
NIMPIS 2013, Asterias amurensis impacts and vectors, National Introduced Marine Pest Information System, viewed 20 May 2013 <http://www.marinepests.gov.au/nimpis>.
|larvae||Growth has been recorded at the following temperatures: 12-25 °C, optimal (Dawris 1985); 10-19 °C, development takes 2 months (Byne et al 1997); 18 °C, megalopa growth maximum (Dawris et al 1986); 17.5 °C, optimum for megalopa (Dries and Adelung 1976); 16.5 °C, bipinnaria (Sutton and Bruce 1996); 15 °C, optimum for zoea (Dries and Adelung 1976); larval hatching in laboratory >10 °C (Dawris 1985); 10 °C, optimum for embryonic development (Dries and Adelung 1976). Also see Lee et al. 2004 for Korean studies on the effects of water temperature on embryonic development.|
|adult||Temperature information: Juveniles died within 2 days at 29 deg C and 4 days at 1.1; adults lose weight below 4 and above 20 and die at 25 (Hawkes & Day, 1993). Optimum temperature from laboratory experiment for recently metamorphosed juveniles 5-26 °C (Sagaro & Ino, 1954).|
|gametes||Sperm half life at 10 °C >2 hours, at 17 °C <30 minutes (A. Morris, CSIRO, pers. comm.).|
|larvae||Division by cleavage results in a smooth blastula stage 14-16 hours after fertilisation at 19 °C. This develops into a gastrula stage 100um x 150um in size. This develops into a dipleurula stage which then develops into a binnarianlarva. By the 7-8th day of development the bipinnaria is ~350um long. This thendevelops into a braciolarian larva (Kasyanov et al 1998)|
|adult||5 arms (very rarely 4 or 6). Each arm tapers to a pointed tip (tips are often turned up). Spines (on the upper surface of body) have jagged ends and are very numerous. Spines are arranged irregularly down the arms. Arms join together in a large central disc. On the underneath of each arm, a single line of spines runs along either side of the groove containing the tube feet (spines join fan-like at the mouth). Colour ranges from yellow and orange to purple (yellow/orange specimens often have purple tips). Can reach up to 40-50 cm in diameter. Genetic technology has allowed the development of an Asterias specific identification probe using DNA analysis. The technique uses PCR amplication of mitochondrial DNA, and allows identification of both larval and adult seastars in thegenus Asterias (see Deagle et al. 2003). An advantage of this technique is that it can be used in mixed species samples, takes into account small genetic differences within the species, and can detect low densities of A. amurensis in the water column (see Deagle et al. 2003).|
|larvae||Other asteroid larvae eg. Coscinasterias muricata.|
|adult||Uniophora granifera, Uniophora dyscrita in Australian waters. Overseas related species are Asterias forbesi, A. rubens and A. vulgaris.|
Please use the following citation for this material
NIMPIS 2013, Asterias amurensis additional information, National Introduced Marine Pest Information System, viewed 20 May 2013 <http://www.marinepests.gov.au/nimpis>.
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