Sea Stars Of The Pacific North West

Class Asteroidea
Order Spinulosida
Family Echinasteridae

BLOOD STAR

Henricia leviuscula

Identification:
5 slender arms with small central disc. Aboral surface coarse. Orange to red or brown, sometimes with a grey patch in their "arm-pits." To 16 cm (6.3 in) across.

Range:
Southern Alaska (Kenai Pt.) to Puget Sound; intertidal to 110 m (361 ft).
Notes:
Conspicuous and very common both intertidally and subtidally. Feeds primarily on sponges including the ORANGE FINGER SPONGE Amphilectus 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.
Recent 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.