• Size

    20-28 inches (51-71 cm)
  • Diet

    Sand dollars, polychaetes, mussels, clams and other bivalve mollusks
  • Range

    Pacific Coast of North America from Alaska to southern California
  • Habitat

    Subtidal areas with mud or sand bottom

Physical Characteristics

  • Has five rays, or arms, that are thickest near the central disk.
  • Top surface is composed of tiny spines less than 0.75 inch (2 cm) in length.
  • Can reach a diameter of 20-28 inches (51-71 cm) or in excess of 24 inches (61 cm).
  • Arms may be up to 3 inches (7.6 cm) thick.
  • Typically pink to lavender in color with a soft and smooth surface texture.

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet consists of sand dollars, polychaetes, mussels, clams and other bivalve mollusks.
  • To reach buried bivalves it can extend tube feet next to its mouth about an inch (several centimeters) into the sediment to pull its prey to the surface.
  • Also extends its stomach over prey to digest it.
  • Opportunistic scavenger feeding on dead fish and other animals.

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs along the Pacific Coast of North America from Alaska to southern California.
  • Found in subtidal areas with mud or sand bottom to about 360 feet (110 m) depth.
  • Appears more frequently in bays than in open coast, often seen on floats and pilings.

Reproduction & Growth

  • Spawning occurs in spring and summer.

Additional Information

  • One of the largest known species of sea star.
  • Also called a “short-spined” and “giant pink star.”
  • As with many sea stars, it dries out, or desiccates, rapidly on exposure to air.
  • May perform limb regeneration if center disc is still intact.

Sources

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