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Collected Sea Stars of Chiniak Bay

Flatbottom Sea Star

Photo of a Flatbottom Sea Star
The flatbottom sea star, Asterias amurensis, in Alaska, is very abundant north and occurs locally south of the Alaska Peninsula; and it ranges from British Columbia, Canada (below 200m) to Japan. Its diameter is to 16 inches. Juvenile red king crab shelter themselves in between the arms of A. amurensis and E. troschelii, presumably for protection against predators or to feed upon food associated with these commensal hosts.
Scientific name: Greek asterias (starred).

Mottled Sea Star

Photo of a Mottled Sea Star
The mottled sea star, Evasterias troschelii ranges from the Pribilof Islands in the Bering Sea, Alaska to central California. It occurs from the intertidal zone down to 10 meters and beyond, on most subtrate types. They often form dense aggregations. E. troschelii can be confused with the purple sea star, Pisaster ochraceus.
Scientific name: Greek Ev (true, nice), asterias (starred).

Redbanded Sea Star

Photo of a Redbanded Sea Star
Pictured are the spiny redbanded sea star, Orthasterias koehleri, and the scarlet red blood star, Henricia leviuscula. Both sea stars range from the Aleutian Islands, Alaska to central California. Henricia leviuscula is usually found on bedrock from the intertidal down to 100 meters. It feeds on encrusting sponges and may feed on plankton. Orthasterias can be found on all substrates from the low intertidal down to 230 meters, and feeds on many organisms, especially the bivalve Humilaria kennerleyi.
Scientific name: Greek orth (straight) and asterias (starred).
Scientific name: Latin levis, laevis (smooth).

Rose Sea Star

Photo of a Rose Sea Star
The rose sea star, Crossaster papposus, is a soft-bodied sea star with 10-11 rays to 6 inches in diameter. Scattered over its surface are spinelets which are more like bushy tufts, thus its name. Its range is circumpolar and in Alaska, it is found both north and south of the Alaska Peninsula. The rose red sea star feeds on a variety of invertebrates including sea pens, nudibranchs, chitons and is preyed upon by the morning sun star, Solaster dawsoni.
Scientific name: Greek krossoi (fringed), aster (star) and Latin pappos (grandfather, the first down on the chin).

Leather Sea Star

Photo of a Leather Sea Star
The leather sea star, Dermasterias imbricata, ranges from Cook Inlet, Alaska, to central California in the low intertidal, shallow subtidal zone. Because it exudes mucous, it is slippery to the touch. It does not have spines, but has six to eight rows of papulae on each of its five rays.
Scientific name: Greek derma (skin, leather), ia (a state of being); Latin imbricatus (covered with tiles or scales).

Sun Sea Star

Photo of a Sun Sea Star
The sun star, Solaster stimpsoni, is found only south of the Alaska Peninsula, from Kodiak Island, Alaska, to Oregon. It is found from the intertidal zone to 60 meters on mud, cobble, or steep rock faces. Their distinctive color, reddish orange with purple or deep red centers to their 9-10 rays, and the thick paxillae or paving stone like structures on the rays, distinguish them from the smooth sun star, Solaster endeca. It feeds on sea cucumbers.
Scientific name: Greek sol (sun) and aster (a star)

Photographs by Jan Haaga

To view more photos of fish, invertebrates, marine mammals and more, visit the Alaska Fisheries Science Center's MultiMedia Gallery.

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