A. typicus belongs to the family Archasteridae. This is a small family with only one single genus, Archaster. Sand Star males are slightly smaller than females and a mating pair will always involve the male superposed on top of the larger female. However, fertilization occurs externally where both male and female synchronize the release of sperm and eggs. Thus copulation, which infers internal fertilization, is probably the wrong term to use. Pseudocopulation is the term widely used by scientists.
Sand Star is one of only two sea star species currently known to perform male-on-female superposition sexual behaviour. Most other species conduct aggregate spawning. It is not exactly clear why Sand Stars superpose during breeding. It could either be to increase the chances of fertilization when the eggs and sperm are dispersed into the water or it is a mate guarding behaviour.
Lane, D. J. W. & D. VandenSpiegel, 2003. A Guide to Sea Stars and other Echinoderms of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre, Singapore.