NORTHERN SUN STAR
Solaster endeca (Linnaeus, 1771)
7 to 13 (usually 9 to 11) fairly short, sharply tapering arms. Disc broad and thick. Aboral surface red or orange, often with a darker stripe down each arm. To 40 cm (16 in); but usually smaller, to 20 cm (7.9 in) in the PNW.
Circumboreal. In the North Atlantic to Great Britain and Cape Cod. In the North Pacific, from northern Alaska to Puget Sound, Washington State; intertidal to 475 m (1,558 ft).
A NORTHERN SUN STAR observed in Queen Charlotte Strait, BC. Note the short rays and coarse aboral surface.
A specimen from Skookumchuck Narrows, BC. Note the typical lighter colour in the armpits.
A specimen from Blackney Pass, at the northern end of Johnstone Strait, BC.
A specimen from Narrows Inlet, BC, on a mud bottom.
A small specimen from Sechelt Inlet, BC, with purple bands along each arm meeting on the disc.
Another Sechelt Inlet specimen with purple bands.
A Sechelt Inlet specimen on a shell hash/mud bottom.
Another small Sechelt Inlet specimen.
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Uncommon. Looks somewhat like the morning sun star but has fewer, shorter, thicker arms. In the Atlantic it is reported to eat sea stars and molluscs. But in the Pacific it does not eat other stars, nor do they respond to touch with an escape response. Here they eat sea cucumbers and other invertebrate prey.