Though the sexes appear indistinguishable when observing this animal externally, the differences can be determined by observing the gonads or by examining the act of spawning when the male and female can be distinguished more readily. During the mating process, gametes are released freely into the water above the animals. Seastars gather in groups when they are prepared to mate to increase the probability of fertilization. If a male and female release gametes in close proximity, the eggs are fertilized. Mating generally occurs in the summer.
Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)
Linckia laevigata spawns between May and August. This species may have a very low level of recruitment. One intensive study found only 10 offspring in one year class. Blue starfish also undergo asexual reproduction, which is the predominant form of reproduction in captivity. During asexual reproduction, the blue starfish divide through their disc, producing clones with identical genetic makeup.
Breeding interval: The blue sea star usually spawns once a year.
Breeding season: The blue sea star usually spawns from May to August.
Range gestation period: 28 to 30 days.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 2 (high) years.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 2 (high) years.
Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; sexual ; asexual ; fertilization (External ); broadcast (group) spawning
No parental investment is provided after gametes are released.
Parental Investment: pre-fertilization (Provisioning)
- Magsino, R., M. Juinio-Meñez, R. Ravago. 2000. Development and application of genetic markers for population structure analysis of the blue coral reef starfish, Linckia laevigata (Linn.) (Echinodermata: Asteroidea). Science Diliman, 12/2: 10-16.
- Williams, S., J. Benzie. 1993. Genetic consequences of long larval life in the starfish Linckia laevigata (Echinodermata: Asteroidea) on the Great Barrier Reef. Marine Biology, 117: 71-77.
- Yamaguchi, M. 1977. Population structure, spawning, and growth of the coral reef asteroid Linckia laevigata (Linnaeus). Pacific Science, 31/1: 13-30.