Understanding pest starfish and their habits

Recently published research into the movement behaviour of crown-of-thorns starfish is available for Great Barrier Reef managers to better predict and manage future outbreaks at a regional level. By both physically and acoustically tracking adult crown of-thorns starfish, researchers found the starfish could move up to 35 cm per minute. The starfish generally stay within the same local area if moderate or high coral cover is nearby, but if coral becomes scarce their hunger and motivation to move larger distances may increase. This research builds on and directly informs the Hub’s existing Integrated Pest Management principles for starfish outbreaks, an approach that has already transformed the control program in terms of efficiency and effectivenes.