Magnificent Star, Luidia magnifica
The Magnificent Star (Luidia magnifica), is a species of starfish in the family Luidiidae. It is found only in the Pacific Ocean on sandy areas of the seabed surrounding Hawaii and the Philippines at a depth of 60 to 440 feet.
This starfish can grow quite large, with one specimen found on the Pearl and Hermes Atoll, Hawaii, measuring 33 inches in diameter. It usually has ten long, tapering arms with pointed tips, but will sometimes have 11 arms. One or more of these arms may regenerate after being damaged or removed by a predator. The upper surface is covered with paxillae (pillar-like spines) with truncated (shortened) ends. Paxillae are also found on the margins of the underside, where there are also multiple rows of tube feet running down the center of each arm.
The color of the Magnificent Star is variable. It is usually creamy yellow with bands of red spots, but sometimes can be darker in varying shades of brown and olive. The underside is usually creamy yellow and the tube feet are tipped with red.
Like other members of the genus Luidia, this species is likely to be an opportunistic predator of macrofauna, and possibly could also be a scavenger. Its favorable diet consists of bivalve mollusks and echinoids. It can move rapidly, appearing to glide across the sandy seabed. It will swallow its prey whole, digesting it in its two stomachs and further processing the remains in the pyloric caeca (digestive pockets) found in the base of its arms. It then ejects any undigested material through its anus.