The crown-of-thorns starfish is a sea star named after its spines that cover its whole body and arms. It has flexible spines that allow it to move freely and protect itself from predators.
The crown-of-thorns starfish is famous for preying on corals. It feeds on hard corals by inverting their entire stomach, through the mouth, and digesting the thin layer of soft tissue off of a coral’s skeleton, right in the open environment, and sucking down the available nutrients. (source: Oceana.org)
Thereby leaving nothing but the limestone skeleton of corals, subsequently affecting habitat of marine life. Especially now where there are occurrences of coral bleaching and human activities causing damage to corals, outbreaks of crown-of-thorn starfish can be harmful and destructive. A persistent outbreak can lead to a clean-up needing to be conducted.
Current efforts to control the outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish include poisoning it and completely removing it from the reef. You can learn more about the guidelines of Crown-of-Thorns Clean-up from Green Fins here.