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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 8:55 EDT

Giant Sea Star, Pisaster giganteus

The giant sea star (Pisaster giganteus) is a species of starfish that is classified within the Asteriidae family. It can be found along the western coasts of North America, with a range that extends from British Columbia to southern California. It resides in areas with low tides, where sand contains abundant substrate to which the starfish can cling. The giant sea star is broad and holds wide arms, reaching between 14.1 and 18.8 inches from arm to arm. Like other starfish species, this sea star is covered with small spines that are typically blue in color, with pink, purple, or white tips. Despite these markings, the overall color of this species is not distinct.

The giant sea star mainly consumes mollusks that occur in its natural habitat, but it also consumes barnacles, gastropods, and limpets. The species has many predators including sea otters and sea birds, which feed on adult individuals, and sea snails, which feed on larval individuals.

Image Caption: Pisaster giganteus. Credit: Xhienne/Wikipedia

Giant Sea Star Pisaster giganteus