Orange Sun Star, Solaster paxillatus

The orange sun star (Solaster paxillatus) is a species of starfish that is classified in the Solasteridae family. It can be found the Pacific Ocean with a range that extends from California in the United States to the Bering Sea and Japan. This species prefers to reside at depths between 36 and 12,270 feet.

The orange sun star has a wide disk that appears to be inflated, especially after feeding, with eight to ten arms. It can reach fifteen inches in diameter with a color that varies between light purple in deep-sea individuals to orange and red in shallow water individuals. Its upper body is covered in protective plates that hold fifteen to thirty spines, called paxillae, that occur along the arms and edges of the body. The undersides of the arms hold two rows of tube feet that are pale in color. The main diet of this species is not yet known, but it has been found to consume blood stars, sea cucumbers, and the northern Pacific sea star.

Image Caption: Sun star: Solaster paxillatus. Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary/Wikipedia