Photographer: © 2014-2016 Dave Waselle · All Rights Reserved.
Crown of Thorns Starfish | Kona, Hawaii
The Crown of Thorns Starfish is becoming one of the deadliest predators of coral reefs next to man himself. They have a veracious appetite and leave a reef area totally stripped of all life. Admittedly, I had no idea this animal had these capabilities but got educated in Ponepe. I saw one that was just flat out beautiful. An unusual color combination of purple and blue and the guide came over and stuck a piece of dead staghorn coral right through the middle of his body. I was shocked to put it mildly!
When back on the boat, I questioned the guide why he did this and he lamented the dangers that these animals bring with them. My first trip to Ponepe was in 1989 and that is when this episode took place. So here’s an isolated little island in the Southwest Pacific with about 5,000 people living on it and they made me aware of a universal problem for the first time. Their only other enemy besides humans is the Triton Trumpet snail. It is a predator that preys on the Crown of Thorns but they also possess a unique shell that is desired by shell and coral shops. So, we are systematically eliminating the one natural enemy of this veracious predator.
I do have to admit they do make quite a unique photo subject with numerous possibilities. They have unique tube feet that I have done macro on. This photo led to a lot of others similar to it. I really liked the endless possibilities. Thusly, bracket, bracket, bracket.