Pink Sea Star

Jacob Hanke

Scientific Name

Pisaster Brevispinus

More Common Names

Short-Spined Sea Star and Giant Pink Sea Star (Rosaria Beach Sea Laboratory, 2013).

Habitat

  • Geographic Range - Sitka, Alaska to La Jolla, California (Cowles, 2005).
  • Maximum water depth is 135m (Rosaria Beach Marine Laboratory, 2013).
  • More common in bays than open coast (Cowles, 2005).
  • Also found in intertidal zone - area that is submerged in water during high tide and uncovered during low tide (Cowles, 2005).

Physical Characteristics

  • It is one of the largest and heaviest sea stars. Big ones can weigh more than 10 lb. (McDaniel, 2013).
  • Five thick, heavy set arms and bulky disc. Arms are rough due to numerous short spines (McDaniel, 2013).
  • The overall color is pink (Cowles, 2005).

Reproduction

  • Starfish commonly reproduce using a method called free-spawning. This means they release their gametes in hope they will be fertilized from the gamete of the opposite sex (Rosaria Beach Marine Laboratory, 2013).
  • Become sexually mature at the end of their 2nd year (Rosaria Beach Marine Laboratory, 2013).

Niche in the Food Chain

  • Mainly preys on bivalves such as clams, but also eats others such as snails, sand dollars, and barnacles. Also may scavenge for dead fish and squid (Cowles, 2005).
  • Sea stars are successful because they don't have many predators (McDaniel, 2013).
  • Ironically, other sea stars rank as their top predators (McDaniel, 2013).
  • Decorator Crabs are a predator of the Pink Sea Star (Rosaria Beach Marine Laboratory, 2013).

Works Cited

Cowles, D. (2005). "Pisaster Brevispinus (Stimpson, 1857)". http://www.wallawalla.edu/academics/departments/biology/rosario/inverts/Echinodermata/Class%20Asteroidea/Pisaster_brevispinus.html


McDaniel, N. (2013). "Sea Stars of the Pacific Northwest". http://www.seastarsofthepacificnorthwest.info/species/giant_pink_star.html


Rosaria Beach Marine Laboratory. (2013). "Pisaster Brevispinus".

http://eol.org/pages/598470/overview.