Henricia leviuscula (Stimpson, 1857)
5 slender arms with small central disc. Aboral surface coarse. Orange to red or brown. To 16 cm (6.3 in) across.
Southern Alaska (Kenai Pt.) to Puget Sound; intertidal to 110 m (361 ft).
A typical BLOOD STAR with 5 slender arms and small disc.
A pair of specimens from Skookumchuck Narrows, BC.
Feeding on a sponge in Queen Charlotte Strait, BC.
Some Henricia have a grey patch in the "arm pits" or partially covering the disc. These are now considered to be the ARMPIT BLOOD STAR Henricia sp. A, a distinct species. (See Jewett et al, 2015, p. 59). Note an usual 4-armed BLOOD STAR to the right.
4 - 4
Conspicuous and very common both intertidally and subtidally. Feeds primarily on sponges including the ORANGE FINGER SPONGE Isodictya rigida. May also use water currents generated by sponges to capture food in mucous secretions of the tube-feet. Spawning occurs in April and May.
On-going research by Doug Eernisse, Megumi Strathmann and Richard Strathmann has shown that many similar-looking blood stars are in fact morphologically different when the ultra-fine details of plates and spines are compared using Scanning Electron Microscopy. These new species await formal description.