How to Distinguish from Similar Species: Other sun stars have a central disk about 1/3 the total diameter and no prominent dark streaks on the aboral surface. The other most common sun star, S. dawsoni, has an orange, brown, tan, or mottled aboral surface.
Geographical Range: Bering Sea to Salt Point, Sonoma County, CA (not common in California); Japan
Depth Range: Extreme low intertidal to 610 m
Habitat: Mostly rocky subtidal; occasionally on floats and pilings.
Biology/Natural History: Feeds on small sea cucumbers, including Eupentacta quinquesemita, E. pseudoquinquesemita, Cucumaria miniata, C. curata, and Psolus chitonoides. May also eat tunicates such as Pyura haustor, brachiopods, and sea pens. Another common sun star, Solaster dawsoni, is an important predator of this species. May have a commensal polychaete scaleworm Arctonoe pulchra or Arctonie vittata in the ambulacral groove. A parasitic barnacle Dendrogaster sp may be inside the tissues. Eggs are 0.9 to 1 mm diameter, yellow. Juveniles often hide among tubedwelling polychaete Phyllochaetopterus prolifica.
Flora and Fairbanks, 1966
Kozloff 1987, 1996
Smith and Carlton, 1975
Hotchkiss, Frederick C., 2000. On the number of rays in starfish. American Zoologist 40:3 pp. 340-354
Knott, K. Emily, and Gregory A. Wray, 2000. Controversy and consensus
in Asteroid systematics: new insights to Ordinal and Familial
relationships. American Zoologist 40:3 pp. 382-392
Larry R. and Benjamin G. Miner, 2006. Estimation
of egg provisioning in marine invertebrates. Integrative and
Biology 46:3 pp 224-232
General Notes and Observations: Locations, abundances, unusual behaviors:
Authors and Editors of Page:
Dave Cowles (2005): Created original page