echinoderms

The following species have been observed thus far in surveys of Fishing Bay and Indian Island. 
sea stars

Ochre Star  

 (Pisaster ochraceus)

     Look for:  Five stubby arms
                           Purple or orange
                           Raised bumpy patterns on top
                            To 8 inches across
    Diet: Eats mussels, barnacles, snails and limpets
    Abundance: Very common
    




Short-spined Star

 (Pisaster brevispinus)

     Look for:  Five arms
                           Pink to grey
                           Soft when touched
                           Often found on sand or mud
                           Usually lives deeper than the Ochre Star,
                                 and is harder to find.
                           Large: to 12 inches across
     Diet: Clams
     Abundance: Scarce




False Ochre Star

(also called Mottled Star)
 (Evasterias troschelii)

     Look for:  Five arms
                          Grey, green, brown or reddish.
                          Similar to the ochre star but has thinner arms
                          Smaller central disk than ochre star
                          Large: to 11 inches across
     Diet: Feeds on mussels, barnacles, chitons and snails
     Abundance:  Common
     Similar species: The false ochre star can be distinguished 
                         from the more common ochre star by a smaller
                         central disk and longer, more slender arms.



Six-armed Star

 (Leptasterias hexactis)

     Look for:  Six arms
                          Highly variable appearance
                          Grey, green, pink, purple and orange
                          Only small star with six legs in the area
                          Very short, tapered legs with blunt tips
                          Small: arm span 2–4 inches
     Abundance:  Scarce



Leather Star

(also called Garlic Star)
 (Dermasterias imbricata)

     Look for:  Five arms
                          Gray with red or grey-brown blotches.
                          Smooth/slippery to the touch
                          Arms very wide at the base and tapered
                           Said to smell like garlic
                          Medium sized: about 7 inches across
     Diet: Feeds primarily on sea anemones 
     Abundance:  Scarce




Rose Star

 (Crossaster papossus)

     Look for:  8 to 16 arms
                          Rings of red, orange, white or yellow on purple.
                          White underside
                          Lives in the low intertidal zone.
                          Medium sized: about 7 inches across
      Diet: Anemones or small sea stars
      Abundance:  Scarce






Dawson's Sea Star

(also called Morning Sun Star) 
(Solaster dawsoni)

     Look for:  8 to 15 arms
                          Orange-brown, occasionally red or mottled
                           Long tapering rays
                           Lives in the low intertidal zone.
                           Medium sized: to 8 inches across
     Diet:          Sea stars, even its own species
    Abundance:  Scarce





Striped Sunstar

(Solaster stimpsoni)

     Look for:  Usually 10 arms
                          Purple-blue stripes bordered by blue, pink, red   
                              or orange
                         Long, slim, tapering rays
                         Large: to 10 inches across
     Diet: Sea cucumbers, sea squirts and other invertebrates 
     Abundance:  Scarce






Sunflower Star

(Pycnopodia helianthoides)

     Look for:  Up to 24 arms
                          Juveniles usually start with 5 rays
                          Orange to mottled red-orange, purple to purple-grey
                          Soft, flexible body
                          Very fast moving
                          Large: to 40 inches across
     Diet: Indiscriminate predator and scavenger
     Abundance:  Common



Sand Star

(Luidia foliolata)

     Look for:  Five long, tapering arms
                          Gray-green or brown to orange
                          Relatively small central disk
                          Large tube feet are bluntly pointed
                          Nearly always subtidal
                          Arms have marginal plates with several spines
                          Large: to 24 inches across
    Diet: Feeds on sea cucumbers
    Abundance:  Scarce
    The sand star does not evert its stomach when feeding, like
    other sea stars.  It is the fastest of all sea stars in the
    region, moving up to 9 feet/min. and can quickly regenerate 
    lost arm tips.  The specimen in the photo has lost one arm
    and is growing back a replacement atop another arm!



Blood Star

(Henricia leviuscula)

     Look for:  Five arms
                          Orange to brick red
                          Long, thin arms
                          Relatively rigid body
                          Small: to 6 inches across
     Diet: Feeds on sponges
     Abundance:  Scarce
 



sea cucumbers


Burrowing Sea Cucumber

(also called Red Sea Cucumber) 

(Cucumaria miniata)

     Look for:  Red, tubular/blobby bodies
                          Five rows of tube feat running lengthwise
                          Hides in crevices between rocks
                           When underwater, the sea cucumber has a delicate 
                               fanlike structure on one end, which it uses to feed.
                          Small: 4 to 10 inches long

    Diet: Filter feeder – feeds on particles in the water column
    Abundance:  Very common









California Sea Cucumber

(Parastichopus californicus)

     Look for:  Red body
                          Soft orange spikes
                          Large: can grow up to 20 inches long

     Diet: Filter feeder –  feeds on particles in the water column
     Abundance:  Common






White Sea Cucumber

(also known as Stiff-Footed Sea Cucumber)

(Eupentacta quinquesemita)


     Look for:  White body. 
                          Some have yellow or pink at the base of the tentacles.
                          Five rows of long tube feat running lengthwise
                          Hides in crevices between rocks
                          When underwater, the sea cucumber has a delicate 
                                fanlike structure on one end, which it uses to feed.
                          Small: up to 4 inches long

     Diet: Filter feeder, feeds on particles in the water column
     Abundance:  Very rare



ochre star


Pisaster Brevispinus by Kwiaht.
short-spined star



false ochre star



Leptasterias aequalis
six-armed star


leather star


rose star

Dawson's sea star


photo of striped sunstar
striped sunstar


Pycnopodia helianthoides by Kwiaht.
sunflower star


sand star with arm missing





blood star




photo of red sea cucumber 
burrowing sea cucumber

burrowing/red sea cucumber underwater




photo of species 
California sea cucumber


 

white sea cucumber



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