This COTS Outbreaks underwater coral reef video about crown of thorns starfish was taken during the Farsan Islands Expedition in the Red Sea.
About COTS Outbreaks
One of the most significant coral predators on the reef is the Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (COTS) (Acanthaster planci). COTS are found throughout the Indo-Pacific region, from the Red Sea, across the Indian Ocean and through to the Pacific. They are not found in Atlantic waters. These starfish look sinister — they are reddish-grey and blue in colour and are covered in 4-5 cm long spines (which give a nasty wound). They are voracious predators and are specially adapted to feed on coral tissue. They are ‘extraoral’ feeders which means that in order to feed, they force their stomach out through their mouth! Specific enzymes are then secreted by the stomach in order to break down the coral tissue. Once finished, the stomach is retracted and the starfish moves on, leaving behind it a bright white scar which is the coral skeleton. COTS seem to prefer eating branching and table-forming corals, usually of the genus Acropora.