The Crown of Thorns Starfish (Acanthaster planci) is one of the few animals that actually eat living coral. Its name derives from the thick poisonous spines that cover their round body and their 21 identical arms.

This species is wide spread around coral reefs all over the world and can cause reef destruction if overpopulated.
The so called outbreaks are a serious threat to the diverse biotic communities and might also promote some coral diseases.

The Australian Government has different measures to control these outbreaks without affecting the biodiversity and the positive impacts that the small populations of the Crown of Thorns causes.
At low densities these Starfish contribute to reef diversity by preventing fast-growing coral from overpowering the slower growing coral varieties.

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