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You are here:   animal list > Gomophia watsoni




Gomophia watsoni Livingstone 1936

Watson's Seastar

Shan Marshall (2011)



Fact Sheet


Brief Summary

Comprehensive Description

Physical Description

Appearance & Size


Habitat & Micro-habitats


Life History & Behaviour



Morphology and Physiology

External Morphology

Internal Anatomy

Tube Feet

Adhesion, Locomotion & Analysis



References & More Information



Asteroids are generally gonochoric, having separate male and female species (Ruppert et al. 2004). However, few species may effectively reproduce both sexually and asexually (Rubilar et al. 2005). In the case of sexual reproduction, expanded gonads that occupy the arms discharge gametes through the gonopore, resulting in a spawning of eggs and sperm into the water column (Ruppert et al. 2004). This is assisted by the pyloric caeca, that act as energy reserves that are utilised by the gonads during gametogenesis (Carvalho & Ventura 2002). It is within the water that fertilisation and development occurs. Such broadcasting spawning events may occur seasonally, annually or as a result of a cue which is generally dependent on the species.

The phenomenon of fissiparity, or the ability to divide the body and regenerate body components from each division, has also been described for some asteroid species (Crump & Barker 1985). This is a form of asexual reproduction (fission) and involves the spontaneous division of a seastar through the central disc (Ottesen & Lucas 1982) often during the benthic adult stage (Haramoto et al. 2007). Each resulting part holds the extraoardinary capacity to regenerate a new individual that may be asymmetrical or even have multiple madreporites (Rubilar et al. 2005). Although both gonochoric, asexual and hermaphroditic species have been described within the family Ophidiasteridae (Ottesen & Lucas 1982), further reproductive investigations would be needed to determine the particular manner in which G. watsoni reproduces.