Sea Stars Of The Pacific North West

Class Asteroidea
Order Velatida
Family Solasteridae


Solaster paxillatus

8 to 10 long, gracefully tapering arms. Aboral surface relatively smooth with densely-packed, tiny spinelets. Usually orange, but a deep-water specimen was violet. To 37 cm (14.5 in) across. Looks much like the morning sun star, but usually has fewer, more tapered arms. The NORTHERN SUN STAR is also similar, but it has shorter arms compared to the ORANGE SUN STAR.

Bering Sea to southern California and to Japan; 11 to 3,740 m (36 to 12,270 ft).
Uncommon in the PNW. I've seen a few in Jervis Inlet, Sechelt Inlet, and Narrows Inlet and near the Gordon Islands, BC. Little is known about its feeding behaviour although sea cucumbers and a BLOOD STAR have been recorded in the stomach contents. In Japanese waters, it is a predator of the sea star Asterias amurensis and the urchin Strongylocentrotus nudus. This star has a very impressive depth range and is found deeper than any other PNW star.