Family Ophidiasteridae – Linckia multifora (Lamarck,1816)
described as: Asterias multifora, Anim.sans Vert.,2, p.565.
Genus altered by: Gray, 1866. Syn.Starf., p.14.
This species is usually found with one or more arms missing, these having been autotomized. The maximum size that this animal attains at Heron Reef is about 100mm arm radius, but most specimens are one-third this size. Sometimes the starfish will be found crawling in the open across the reef crest but more often it will be found under boulders. The specimens which occur under boulders are usually smaller and lighter in color and do not have the brown coloration which is found in those that have taken to an exposed existence. The most common number of arms is six but this varies between three and eight. It is unusual to find a specimen with all arms of equal length.
Occasionally specimens are found that do not belong clearly to either Linckia laevigata or Linckia multifora. These specimens are blue in color but have pointed arms and show evidence of recent autotomous reproduction. One blue comet form has been found during this study. These specimens have not been regarded as Linckia laevigata, but as color variations of Linckia multifora.