COLOURFUL SIX-ARMED STAR
Leptasterias aequalis species complex
6 tapering arms. Aboral surface quite rough. Often pinkish with mottling. To 10 cm (4 in) across.
Vancouver Island to central California; intertidal to shallow subtidal.
A COLOURFUL SIX-ARMED STAR tackles a chiton at Race Rocks, BC.
A specimen in the shallow subtidal zone at North Cod Reef, BC.
A specimen from Active Pass, BC.
A pair of COLOURFUL SIX-ARMED STARS in the shallows of an exposed pinnacle reef in outer Barkley Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
A specimen from Christie Reef in outer Barkley Sound, BC.
Another specimen from Christie Reef in outer Barkley Sound, where they were very abundant in September 2017.
4 - 6
Eats various small bivalves, barnacles, snails, limpets and chitons. Aggregates in January to breed. Males discharge sperm into the water and the females hold the fertilized eggs under their arched bodies, brooding them for three months before the juvenile stars leave. Leptasterias is a complex genus with many confusing, closely related species. Taxonomists are still trying to sort out all the different entities.