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Sunflower Star
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Dec 31 2006 06:01 GMT Wildspirit PRO
Dec 31 2006 07:17 GMT FeatherBirdLady
Pretty slimey, eh? hehe
Dec 31 2006 07:52 GMT Pasifae
Great catch!! :)
Dec 31 2006 11:30 GMT ThorBeverley PRO
Hey - this is a really stunning starfish!
Are they only found in the Pacific or could I see one elsewhere?
Dec 31 2006 17:58 GMT genese
excellent capture
happy new year hun!!!
Dec 31 2006 20:56 GMT FeatherBirdLady
The Sunflower Star is native to the USA from Alaska to California: An array of 24 arms distinguishes this magnificent sunflower star from other sea stars. Soft skin in colors ranging from purple to brown, orange or yellow adds to its beauty.

For a sea star, this animal is a voracious predator. When on the prowl for food, the sunflower star swings along on its 15,000 tube feetómoving at the remarkable speed, for a sea star, of over 40 inches (1 m) per minute.

The sunstar's prey use a variety of escape tactics to avoid being trapped by the Pycnopodiaís tube feet. Snails and abalones violently twist their shells to loosen the starís powerful grip; cockles lower their strong foot and pole-vault away; California sea cucumbers, usually sedentary, slither out of the way; and sea urchins flee. Both red and purple sea urchins deploy their pedicellariae (pinchers) to nibble on the starís tube feet. The purple urchin seldom escapes, however the red sea urchin has another defenseólong spines, which usually ensure its escape.

Diet crabs, sea cucumbers, snails, chitons, sea urchins, dead or dying squid and other sea stars

Size to 39 inches (1 m) from armtip to armtip

Range low intertidal and subtidal zones from Alaska to San Diego

Relatives other sea stars, brittle stars, urchins, sand dollars, sea cucumbers; Phylum: Echinodermata

Conservation Notes Urban runoff and sewage spills harm sea stars and all creatures that live off our coasts.
When you visit the shore, itís best just to look, not touch or disturb the animals and plants that live there. Persistent ill-treatment of a sunstar can leave it in poor condition.

Cool Facts Juvenile sunflower stars start life with five armsóby maturity they sport up to 24 arms.

Most sea stars have a one-piece, semirigid skeleton. However, the sunflower starís skeleton has a few disconnected pieces. They allow the sunstar's mouth to open wide and its body to enlarge and take in big prey. A sunflower star can swallow an entire sea urchin, digest it internally and then expel the urchinís testóits external shell.

Dec 31 2006 20:56 GMT FeatherBirdLady
Thanks, genese! And Happy New Year to you as well!
Jan 01 2007 00:17 GMT Tavascarow
Phenominal & thankyou very much for the description.
Metre wide!!!!!
It means so much more with the description.
Do you get brittle stars over there?
Jan 01 2007 17:53 GMT FeatherBirdLady
Yes. There are brittle stars in my archive here on site. When I find it I will post it as a reply link here....
Jan 02 2007 04:00 GMT FeatherBirdLady
Jan 02 2007 04:12 GMT FeatherBirdLady
Nov 14 2007 11:26 GMT PinkRocksAus PRO
Sometimes I wish I had that many arms. :>P~