Marthasterias glacialis (Linnaeus, 1765)

Marthasterias glacialis imageCommon names: Engl: Spiny star fish; Russ: Morskaya zvezda; Turk: Adi deniz yildizi.

Order (Scientific): FORCIPULATA.

Family (Scientific): ASTERIIDAE.

Taxonomic description: Starfish with large subcylindrical, pointed arms, body covered with large protuberances set in longitudinal series and strong spines. Color varies from greenish to reddish-brown. Measured up to 70-80 centimeters.

Marthasterias glacialis arealIUCN Status:
    World level:
    Black Sea Regional level: VU
    Subregion level: VU


Habitats type, Critical habitats, Limiting factors: Found on rocky and detrial bottoms from 3-5 metres down to 180m. This species is associated with mussels and oysters and feeds on them. Common in the prebosphoric area and the western Black Sea. This species is distributed through the Mediterranean Sea, Marmara Sea and Black Sea. Marine zones near the coast of depths of 50 metres where they are reproduce. High rate of siltation, sand dredging and trawling.

Biology: Body star shaped, small disk, 5 arms, color: reddish-grey. Feeds on mussels and oysters.

Population trends: No data on the population trends. However this species is already rare in the Black Sea.

Threats: Sand dredging, trawling.

Conservation measures taken: No conservation measures are taken in the Black Sea.

Conservation measures proposed: Banning the sand dredging.


  1. Artuz, I. 1967. Sea stars of the Turkish waters. Turk biyoloji dergisi (J. of. Turkish Biology), Number 1: 11-24.

Compiled by: B.Öztürk.