Sea Stars Of The Pacific North West

Class Asteroidea
Order Valvatida
Family Goniasteridae

GUNPOWDER STAR

Gephyreaster swifti

Identification:
5 well-defined arms with a broad, often swollen disc. Aboral surface smooth with tightly packed plates covered with granules; marginal plates conspicuous and rounded. Pink-orange or pink. To 42 cm (16.5 in) across.

Range:
Aleutian Islands, Alaska, to Washington State; 4 to 344 m (13 to 1,128 ft).
Notes:
This star smells strongly like exploded gunpowder. I've never seen this species south of Knight Inlet, a long fjord on the central BC coast. It is reasonably common in Queen Charlotte Strait, especially in the Masterman and Gordon Islands near Port Hardy where it often eats PLUMOSE ANEMONES. It has also been found humped up over clusters of FRINGED FILAMENT-WORMS*. It is apparently not found in the Strait of Georgia but has been reported from Puget Sound.