Thursday, July 14, 2011

Henry Sees Sea Stars

Most Northerly Record of Small Cushion Star!

as told by my son Henry on his blog "The Nature of Henry"

Here is a link - 

Little Cushion Star - Asterina phylactica
Starfish or Sea Star

Found by me Henry Hyndman - April 26th 2009
First record for Fair Isle and for Shetland
About 400 miles north of any other known record of this species.

Small Cushion Stars are very small. Adults are only about 1.5cm

Cushion Star Info

Description: A very small cushion star with a spiny dorsal surface. There is a star-like pattern of darker brown or green pigment along the centre of the arms and paler areas between the arms. Up to 1.5cm. across. This species was only recognised recently (1979) little is known about it.

Habitat: A frequent species in some very exposed sites on the west coast of Ireland at 10 - 20m. Also found intertidally in large rock pools and on rocks.

Distribution: Known from the west coast of Ireland, Strangford Lough, and SW Britain. Also found in the Mediterranean.

  • Star-like pattern of darker pigment.
  • Small size, only 1.5cm in diameter.
  • Broods its young.

Second Fair Isle Record in photo
Second, Third and Fourth Records - July 4th 2011

I was catching stuff and rockpooling by myself while Dad was working in his art studio at the lighthouse. I was so excited when I found my second Little Cushion Star! It had been over 2 years ago I found my first and I go tidepooling all the time. I ran back screaming to show my Dad. Dad was frozen when he saw it and then said AWESOME! and took some photos. It was laying eggs! I went back to look for more. Dad said leave them there if you find more... and I did! 2 more! I was so happy.

The next day Nick wanted to see where I found them? So Dad, Nick and I all went back to the tidepool  at low tide and we found a whole breeding colony! 20 or more Little Cushion Stars. I needed Dad to move the big rocks and we all said well done to each other. We wondered if it has anything to do with global warming?

I can't beleave that they live here now, not just one lost in the currents of the Sea an Ocean.

This is the tidepool I found them in.
Southlighthouse - Fair Isle, Shetland Islands, Scotland, UK.

Checked all the other tidepools with my Dad,
oddly this is the only tidepool we could find them in?

They can be hard to find! Can you see all 4 on the bottom of this rock?

also recently I found some baby Lumpsuckers (Lumpfish)
and a baby Squat Lobster both new tidepool finds for me!
It's brilliant to have no school! I have more time to explore and find things.

Young Lumpsuckers

Tiny Squat Lobster

Fair Isle's go to Naturalist - Nick Riddiford

When ever I find something Dad and I don't know what it is? I go to Nick.
I like to help Nick. He records nature records and sightings on Fair Isle where we live.
He is trying to turn Fair Isle into a Marine Park.

Fair Isle Marine Environment & Tourism Initiative


  1. Nice to see my friend Nick looking so well. Say hi from me - Michelle in Chippenham! :)