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Purple sea star
(Pisaster ochraceus)
walrus
Description
This sea star has five stout rays arranged around an ill-defined central disk. While most individuals are purple, they can be orange, orange-ochre, yellow, reddish, or brown. Their aboral surface (the zone located opposite to the mouth), contains many small spines (ossicles) that are arranged in a netlike or pentagonal pattern on the central disk.
Dimensions
The radius ranges from 10 to 18 inches .
Diet
At the larval stage, they are filter feeders and their diet consists of plankton. As an adult, they feed on mussels, chitons, limpets, snails, barnacles, echinoids, and even decapod crustacea.
Habitat & Range
They inhabit in great numbers on mussel beds and on wave-washed rocky shores. They are commonly found in the Northeastern Pacific, being a cold-water species. However, it is common in bays all year. They range anywhere from Alaska to Baja California in Mexico.
Conservation status
THIS SPECIES IS LISTED AS NOT EVALUATED

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© 2014 Oswaldo Rosales
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