Solaster stimpsoni Verrill, 1880
Common name(s): Stimpson's sun star, Sun star, Orange sun star
|Solaster stimpsoni subtidal from Sares Head, WA.|
|(Photo by: Dave Cowles, 1997)|
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.
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Gotshall and Laurent, 1979
Morris et al., 1980
O'Clair and O'Clair, 1998
Larry R. and Benjamin G. Miner, 2006. Estimation and interpretation
of egg provisioning in marine invertebrates. Integrative and Comparative
Biology 46:3 pp 224-232
This individual is more blue than usual and appears to be devouring Robbie Wheeling. Note tape on lab in background--the major 2002 lab fire had just occurred.
Seasters breathe and rid themselves of wastes via coelomic pouches or papulae that they extrude through their skin when underwater. The extruded papulae
give them a fuzzy appearance when underwater. Photo of Solaster stimpsoni by Dave Cowles, Jule 2005.