The Natural History of the Thread Starfish

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This blog tells the story of the discovery, examination and classification of a new order of Starfish, Linumasteroideae, the Thread Starfish. These rare and localised species of starfish are found only along the north coast of Norfolk.

Distribution of Thread Starfish Finds

Distribution of finds as at September 11th along the North Norfolk Coast from Old Hunstanton to Scolt Head Island and Burnham Overy.

Google Earth view of Scolt Head Island, a 9km sand spit.

The Big Discovery - 7th September, 2007

Oral (lower) surface

Aboral (upper) surface

A large, complete starfish has been discovered on the sands of Cockle Bight, just off Scolt Head Island. It matches perfectly the partial specimens recovered previously and can be confirmed as a new species, which I have tentatively named linumfenestra funiculus, the string thread starfish. Measuring 90cm in diameter, it confirms the speculation of a giant species of starfish living off coastal Norfolk.

Wire Thread Starfish - 31st August 2007

Linumfenestra linus
Measures 60cm in diameter
Location: Titchwell Nature Reserve

Analysis of the Fragment

The Missing Link - 11th August 2007

Another fragment of a large thread starfish has been washed up at low tide on Old Hunstanton beach, 10km west of Scolt Head. This is an exciting discovery - although only part of the disc and arm remain, they are enough to suggest that the large disc and arm found earlier are linked, maybe even the same species.