I recently saw that a recent newsbit here featured the range extensions of some "rare" or more precisely seldom encountered species including Astropecten regalis, Meyenaster gelatinosus, and the big orange spiny one called Paulia horrida
Truth be told, all 3 of these species are found in that tropical east Pacific area..and so, finding them in Peru (a poorly studied area) is really not much of a surprise..
BUT, I thought..wouldn't it be interesting if I did something just like this..but just using Flickr!! Using the accumulated pictures from people all around the world? Divers! Vacationers! Photographers! Aquarium goers!
Can we crowdsource biodiversity using the Internet??
Let's find out.
1. I do not own any of these images. These have all been "crowdsourced" from Flickr and are available here via the embed code for each picture. They have NOT been uploaded.
2. Animals are sometimes difficult to identify from pictures.
3. Why South Africa? South Africa is unusual in that it occurs right at the confluence between the tropical south Indian Ocean, the south Pacific, and the subAntarctic..so there's an interesting temperate water mix of animals that you really don't find anywhere else in the world. Its very distinctive.
Plus, its a suitably exotic fauna (at least to those of us not in South Africa!) that its interesting to readers.
Thanks to generous photographer Bernard Picton I was able to show off some rarely seen South African species awhile back. Click here to see!
Neoferdina or Paraferdina? (Goniasteridae) from Aliwal Shaol, KZN, South Africa
Here's an Anthenea or some oreasterid that I haven't been able to ID to species.. Again, the literature has no record of an animal of this kind from South Africa per se.. But this is at the northern range.
Here are some of the more frequently encountered species...
Family Asterinidae-Patiriella dyscrita (H.L. Clark, 1923)
Family Asterinidae-Callopatiria granifera Gray, 1847 from South Africa
Family Echinasteridae-Henricia ornata (Perrier, 1869)
Family Oreasteridae-Culcita schmideliana (Retzius, 1805) from Rynie, Kwazulu Natal
This is closely related to the widespread cushion star Culcita novaeguineae which occurs in the Pacific. Culcita schmideliana occurs primarily in the Indian Ocean in shallow, tropical reef habitats.
Family Oreasteridae- Pentaceraster mammilatus (Audoin, 1826)
A widely distributed starfish in Oreasteridae. Tropical, shallow-water species. Closely related to Protoreaster nodosus which is found in the tropical central Pacific.
A rather curiously colored Choriaster granulatus
|Image by Mark Kenny|
This species was only recorded from South Africa in 1996 and was originally described from Oman from only 5 specimens!
|photo by Derek Keats on Flickr|
Family Goniasteridae-Fromia elegans H.L. Clark 1921
Family Asteriidae Marthasterias glacialis (Linnaeus, 1758)
A widespread temperate water species. It occurs from the North Atlantic on the European coast down to South Africa. Feeds on bivalves and other mollusks.
|Image by Jinnie Lips|
|Photo by Photopixie2|
Amazingly, (if you know what to look for) today you can find nearly a dozen species of starfish just by browsing through a photostream!!
Here's a cool looking Basket star for good measure!