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The rocky shores and surrounding reefs at Flinders, at the south-west corner of Western Port, are famous for the diversity of their marine life. For over one hundred years, scientists and naturalists have frequented the reefs, and the area has revealed numerous animal species not previously known to science. Recent discoveries include sea stars that brood their young in their stomach and other tiny seastar species that were once thought to be juveniles.
Easily visible are numerous rectangular crabs, multicoloured cushion sea-stars, small spiralled shells of all shapes and sizes and rows of daisy-like anemones. The seafloor within the coves (2 - 3 m depth) is carpeted in algae and seagrass, with the larger rocks of the reef covered in kelps, and smaller brown and red algae. The sandy bottom supports large beds of Amphibolis seagrass inhabited by a variety of fish including Saddled Wrasse and Magpie Morwong. Strange box-like Cowfish and Weedy Sea-dragons hover furtively over the seagrass beds.
The amazing Black and White Sea Star is one of only two sea stars known to brood its young in its stomach. It carefully deposits the eggs onto rocks and after fertilisation passes the eggs one by one with its tube feet to the mouth. Up to 300 juveniles grow in the stomach for a month or so and are released as clusters of tiny pink stars in October. Although not confirmed, it appears as if the female does not eat during this period. The Black and White Sea Star is not common. It appears to favour shallow rock pools on basalt reefs and occurs only in Victoria and Tasmania.