Size20-28 inches (51-71 cm)
DietSand dollars, polychaetes, mussels, clams and other bivalve mollusks
RangePacific Coast of North America from Alaska to southern California
HabitatSubtidal areas with mud or sand bottom
- 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 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.
- 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.
- Spawning occurs in spring and summer.
- 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.