Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Pink Sea Star

Pisaster brevispinus

The Pink Sea star, also called the “short-spined” or “giant pink star,” has five arms that are thickest near the central disk. It's top surface has 2 mm. spines arranged in networks or clusters. This starfish is typically seen in pink or lavender with shades of grey. It may regrow limbs if the central disk is intact.

Range & Habitat

Pacific Coast of North America from Alaska to southern California in subtidal areas with muddy or sandy bottoms to about 110 meters in depth.

Conservation Status: Not Evaluated

Diet

In the wild -- sand dollars, ocean worms, mussels, clams and other bivalve mollusks. An opportunistic scavenger,it also feeds on dead fish and other animals.

At the Zoo - Shrimp, shellfish, fish flakes.

Life Span

Unknown, but some species of Sea Stars live for more than 30 years.

Fun Facts about the Pink Sea Star

  • This species of Sea Star was the inspiration for Patrick Star of "SpongeBob SquarePants" fame.
  •  It is one of the largest known species of sea star, with a diameter up to 64 cm. 
  •   It competes with the Sunflower Sea Star for food when they both find the same prey. 
  •  The tube feet next to the mouth can be used to pull up prey from the ocean floor.
  •  It can turn its stomach inside out, up to 8 cm, to digest prey in the shell.     

Sources

Georgia Aquarium. (2022). Pink Sea Star. Retrieved January  2022. https://www.georgiaaquarium.org/animal/pink-sea-star/

Biodiversity of the Central Coast. (2013). Spiny pink star, pink sea star, ,giant pink star, short-spined sea star  Pisaster brevispinus. Retrieved January 2022. https://www.centralcoastbiodiversity.org/spiny-pink-star-bull-pisaster-brevispinus.html

Invertebrates of the Salish Sea. (2005).  Pisaster brevispinus (Stimpson, 1857). Retrieved January 2022. https://inverts.wallawalla.edu/Echinodermata/Class%20Asteroidea/Pisaster_brevispinus.html

Seattle Aquarium. (2022). Sea star fact sheet. Retrieved January 2022. https://www.seattleaquarium.org/sites/default/files/files/SeaStarFactSheet.pdf

Updated January 27, 2022
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