Keep a lookout for the Northern Pacific seastar
8 March 2019
Visitors to the Gippsland Lakes this coming long weekend are being asked to be on the lookout for the presence of the Northern Pacific seastar.
Agriculture Victoria’s Principal Officer, Invasive Marine Species said that two more specimens were collected from waters off Wattle Point by a local prawner in mid-February.
“This follows the confirmation of a single Northern Pacific seastar collected by a member of the public at the same location in January,” Dr Richard Stafford-Bell said.
“We have visually confirmed the two recent collections and DNA testing is still under way on the samples.
“We’re asking anyone who finds what they believe is a Northern Pacific seastar to collect it, noting the location, date and time of the collection, and report the details to us with a photograph.
“Once we’ve visually identified the seastar, we will seek to undertake DNA testing of the specimen,” Dr Stafford-Bell said.
Suspected seastars should be placed in a sealed bag or container and stored in a freezer until they can be collected by an Agriculture Victoria staff member for testing.
Dr Stafford-Bell said that the Northern Pacific seastar could be recognised by its five-pointed arms with upturned tips and yellow and purple markings.
“It is a highly invasive species that was last detected in the Gippsland Lakes in 2015. It is unknown whether this recent detection is a new arrival or if there is a local population in the region.
“As this species is extremely difficult to eradicate, we’re calling on the community to assist us in determining the nature and extent of these latest detections.”
Suspected sightings and collections can be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Categorised under: Agriculture,Biosecurity