- Seastar with five wide pointed arms surrounding a large, high disc.
- Blue-gray coloration, with red and orange mottling.
- Smooth and slippery texture, covered in slime, which makes animal feel like wet leather.
- Can be up to 10 inches in diameter.
- Prince William Sound, Alaska to northern Baja California, Mexico.
- Live in rocky shores and tide pools.
- Live in clean harbors on pilings and sea walls.
- Found from 0 to 300 feet depths.
- In Washington, spawning is from April to August.
- Reproduction is via broadcast spawning, where eggs and sperm are released into the water.
- The fertilized eggs become swimming larvae before transforming into sea stars that settle on the bottom.
- Sea anemones, California sea cucumber, purple sea urchin, sponges, hydroids, sea pens, sea vase tunicates, bryozoans, and other invertebrates.
- Morning sun stars eat them.
- Slimy texture detracts many predators.
- The leather star also exudes a garlic-like smell that also repels predators!
- Unlike many other sea stars, leather stars swallow their prey whole and digest it internally.
- Unlike most other animals, sea stars do not have blood but instead use sea water to pump oxygen around their bodies.
Sources: Oregon Coast Aquarium; Tennessee Aquarium; seastarsofthepacificnorthwest.info; animals.net; Oak Bay Marine; Walla Walla University
Photo: Herb Gruenhagen