07 October 2012

Taeng-kalabaw [carabao dung]

Acanthaster planci is a natural inhabitant of tropical reefs across the Indo-Pacific that feeds on reef-building corals. It is an interesting starfish because they are sometimes seen in high densities called an outbreak.
Commonly known as crown-of-thorns starfish or COT, it is locally known as 'bula' (Fiji), 'rrusech' (Palau), 'taramea' (French Polynesia) and 'alamea' (American Samoa and Tonga) in different islands in its distribution. In the Philippines, it is locally known as 'taeng kalabaw' (i.e., carabao dung) in the islands of Luzon.
Photo by Dr. Jay MacLean from SeaLifeBase
According to Ms. Aida Mendoza (pers. comm., 2009), this common name came from its carabao dung-like form and, just like any fecal matter, who would want to step on a spine-covered starfish?
Do you have any funny or peculiar common names of marine animals in your seas? Share it with us. E-mail us at sealifebase@fin.ph or follow us in our Facebook page.


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