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 Porania pulvillus is a cushion starfish that reaches up to 11-12 cm in diameter. The upper (aboral) surface is usually bright red but may be purple, orange or yellow and is marked with a pattern of white or yellowish spots and bands that radiate from the centre. The colour of the underside (oral surface) is pale in contrast. The aboral surface is smooth with a greasy texture and is scattered with clusters of white, yellowish or translucent soft papillae that act as gills. Porania pulvillus has 5 short, broad arms that narrow towards the ends and extend from a large, convex, central disc. Each arm is edged with two rows of small ossicles (marginal plates) on either side. The ossicles of the upper row are smooth whereas those of the lower row each bear 3-5 spines giving a narrow, fringe-like appearance. The underside of each arm has a narrow ambulacral groove bearing numerous suckered tube feet and has a margin of 2 rows of spines on either side. The central oral region is marked by radiating grooves between the axes of each arm. This species lacks any pedicellariae.Porania pulvillus is a gonochoristic species that reproduces by external fertilization via a planktonic larval stage. It feeds on detritus and the soft coral Alcyonium digitatum

Jenkins et al. (2001) reported that Porania pulvillus was little affected by scallop dredging.


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©  The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Source: Marine Life Information Network

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