With 5 (occasionally 4 or
and a central
disk less than 1/5 of total width. The aboral
surface is slightly gritty due to the ridgelike network of tiny ossicles
separating small depressions between. The ridges are composed
clusters of small spines (paxillae)
easily visible under magnification (picture),
and are wider than the depressions between. No pedicellariae.
Three rows of enlarged marginal
plates (not clearly visible except under magnification) line
of the ambulacral
grooves are narrow (picture).
Base of rays
are not so
thickened that they are separated from one another by a crease which
onto the disk.
Color cream or bright orange; not mottled. Genital pores
rays) slightly aboral to the margin of the disk.
Rarely over 12 cm diameter.
Henricia leviuscula (Stimpson,
Common name(s): Blood star,
|Henricia leviuscula, collected
100-150 m depth in San Juan
|(Photo by: Dave
Cowles, July 2005)
How to Distinguish
Similar Species: This
species is variable and is likely a species complex. H.
has no prominent marginal plates and the rays
are thickened at the base, forming creases between them. Henricia
pumila is a small species with genital pores
slightly oral to the
margin of the disk
and is a mottled color.
In 2010 Douglas Eernisse, M. Strathmann, E.Corstorphine,
C. Mah were working on a key to distinguish species in this complex.
to Baja California, Mexico; Japan
Depth Range: Low
intertidal to 671 m
in the rocky intertidal
and subtidally in rocky and shelly hash areas.
Feeds mainly on
sponges, or on particulates which stick to mucus on the body surface
are passed to the mouth. Often has a commensal scaleworm, Arctonoe
vittata. Small females may brood their
young in winter (or
the brooders may be a separate species--this is most likely the correct
interpretation). Has ocelli at the tips of the rays.
Henricia leviuscula is fairly stiff
only small papulae and
tube feet. It seems to rely much more on seawater uptake
the madreporite than does Leptasterias
hexactis, another intertidal species of similar
The genus Henricia
is closely related to the genus Echinaster
(Medeiros-Lopes et al., 2016)
and Carlton, 1975
and Brusca, 1978
and McConnaughey, 1985
and O'Clair, 1998
et al., 1993
Ferguson, John C., 1994. Madreporite inflow of
seawater to maintain
body fluids in five species of starfish. pp. 285-289 in
David, Alain Guille, Jean-Pierre Feral, and Michel Roux
through time. Balkema, Rotterdam.
Larry R. and Benjamin G. Miner, 2006. Estimation
of egg provisioning in marine invertebrates. Integrative and
Biology 46:3 pp 224-232
Elinia, Rocio Perez-Portela, Paulo Cesar Paiva, and Carlos Renato
Rezende Ventura, 2016.
The molecular phylogeny of the sea star Echinaster
Echinasteridae) provides insights for genus taxonomy.
Invertebrate Biology 135:3 pp 235-244
General Notes and
Observations: Locations, abundances,
This species is found in many sizes and colors, and may be a species
complex. Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2005
side form a branching network of small papillate
A closeup view of the aboral
photo was taken on the 4-rayed seastar below.
Compare the pattern of these aboral
to that in
This closeup of the aboral
portion of a ray
individual shows that the aboral
30-60 closely-spaced spinelets. Photo by Dave Cowles, August
This view of the oral
side of a ray
each have two rows of 5-12 stubby spinelets arranged transversely
to the ambulacral
This large individual, with ray
length from 11.5 to 12.5 cm, has only 4 rays
and not a hint of another ray
regenerating. It is much larger than most intertidal H.
This individual, found on Sares Head in 2012, had 6 rays.
length 7 cm.
This individual, found at Kalaloch Beach #4 in July 2019, is just beginning to regenerate two arms (rays). In my observation, Henricia was the seastar species least affected by wasting disease along our coast. Photo by Dave Cowles
of the 4-rayed
above is orange and not strongly distinguished from the ossicles
the margin of the ambulacral
grooves are larger, usually lighter, and form 3 rows.
groove is narrow. Here the enlarged marginal
ossicles can also be seen. Photo by Dave Cowles,
A beige form is especially common in deep water. This is
actually H. sanguinolenta. Collected at
100-150 m in San Juan
Channel. Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2005
This distorted individual was trawled from 100-150 m depth in the San
Photos by Dave Cowles, July 2005
A saddle-like marking of lilac blotches between the rays
is a common color variant. This may also be a separate
leviuscula. Collected at 100-150 m depth,San Juan
Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2005
This closeup of the madreporite
of a saddled or blotched individual shows that the madreporite
looks different than in the orange individuals.
This individual, photographed underwater by Kirt Onthank near Northwest
island in February 2006, has even more pronounced lilac patches over
base of the rays
The nudibranch is Cadlina
In summer 2005 three students, Shannon Greenlaw, Jill
Lyndi Hetterle did a student research project titled "Nocturnal vs
levels of activity in Henricia leviuscula.
They placed 15
blood stars in an outdoor tank and placed a video time-lapse camera
to record their movement. They found that the seastars moved
more during the day than at night. They were not able to
whether this was a natural level of movement or whether the seastars
searching for shelter from the sunlight, though a number of stars
substantial levels of movement even after entering the shade.
figure below of mean distance moved as a function of time of day
their data. Daylight hours are from approximately 6:00 to
Authors and Editors of Page:
Dave Cowles (2005): Created original page