Pteraster tesselatus Ives, 1888
5 (rarely 6 or even 7) short, puffy arms with a broad disc bearing a central pore. Ends of the arms often upturned. Orange, yellow, brown or grey. Many have a darker star-shaped pattern overlying the base colour. To 24 cm (9.4 in) across. Recent genetic research by Christopher Wells at the University of Washington has suggested that the specimens with the radiating dark patterns are a separate, undescribed species.
Bering Sea to Washington State; 6 to 436 m (20 to 1,430 ft).
A typical SLIME STAR. Note the stubby arms with upturned tips and the opening, called the osculum, in the centre.
In this specimen the osculum is open.
The oral side. The folds of the cardiac stomach can be seen.
A SLIME STAR with mottled colours.
A dark specimen (possibly a new, undescribed species) with a symmetrical pattern of light and dark grey. (Chris Wells, pers. comm.)
This pattern is similar to the previous specimen except the colours are brown and the star has 6 arms. This may represent a new, undescribed species (Chris Wells, pers. comm.)
A rare 7-armed specimen. Note the vague but characteristic hexagonal pattern on the aboral surface.
A pair of SLIME STARS. One is eating the WHITE RETICULATED SPONGE Iophon lamella.
8 - 8
Notes: Eats sponges and a variety of other invertebrates. When disturbed this star can produce huge amounts of clear mucous—hence the name. The slime will kill other animals immersed in it for 24 hours. The slime also repels attacks by the MORNING SUN STAR and the SUNFLOWER STAR.
The SLIME STAR breeds from early July to the end of August. The female releases small numbers of eggs through the osculum that develop directly into juveniles in about 25 days.