... THE SUNFLOWER STAR is the biggest sea star there is, reaching 75 cm in diameter?
Distribution: North American northeast coast.
Measurements: up to 75 cm in diameter.
Food: bivalves, snails, urchins, sea cucumbers, crabs ... even dead animals.
Special characteristics: It has 15 to 20 arms, with spines sticking out of its soft tissue.
The sunflower star (Pycnopodia helianthoides) can be found from the intertidal zone up to 430m, on rocky, gravel or sand bottoms.
Is the biggest sea star there is, reaching 75 cm in diameter. It has 15 to 20 arms, with spines sticking out of its soft tissue, though young Sunflower starfish only have 5 arms. It is almost always orange or pink, and sometimes purple. It has a weakly articulated skeleton, so fluid pressure maintains its body shape. It seems to absorb more fluids through the body surface than through the orifice in its centre.
It is a voracious predator, feeding on bivalves, snails, urchins, sea cucumbers, crabs ... even dead animals.
The sunflower star is also known to be able to travel up to 3km, using its more than 15,000 ambulacral feet it can move faster than 70 cm. per minute.
Discover the sunflower star in the Temperate and Tropical facility of the Oceanogràfic.