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Three eyes from three separate specimens collected off the coast of Cairns, Australia (16°50′50.82″S, 146°13′37.92″E), in April 2014, were used for transmission electron microscopy.Eyes were fixed in 2.5% glutaraldehyde, 1.5% paraformaldehyde and 3% sucrose in 0.1 M phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) buffer overnight.Our results show that the visual sense of the crown-of-thorns starfish is much more elaborate than has been thus far appreciated and is essential for orientation and localisation of suitable habitats.).Because of the ecological and economic importance of coral reefs, interest in the crown-of-thorns starfish has been increasing in an effort to discover potential mitigation avenues against them.We found that only animals with intact vision could orient to a nearby coral reef, whereas blinded animals, with olfaction intact, walked in random directions.The eye had peak sensitivity in the blue part (470 nm) of the visual spectrum and a narrow, horizontal visual field of approximately 100° wide and 30° high.Sequential sampling of the environment, or phototaxis, would guide the animal along the direction of a light gradient.

In addition, they have the slowest vision of all animals examined thus far, with a flicker fusion frequency of only 0.6–0.7 Hz.) possess a seemingly advanced eye at the tip of each of its 7–23 arms.With such an array of eyes, the starfish can integrate a wide field of view of its surroundings.They were kept in holding tanks supplied with running, filtered sea water at a temperature of 27° C.In captivity, the starfish were not fed and were used within 3 weeks of collection.

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We hypothesise that, at close range, orientation and directional movements of the crown-of-thorns starfish are visually guided.

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