- Five wide arms surrounding a large, high disc
- Blue-gray coloration, with red and orange mottling
- Smooth and slippery texture, covered in slime, feels like wet leather
- Up to 10 inches diameter
- Prince William Sound, Alaska to northern Baja California, Mexico
- Rocky shores and tidepools
- In clean harbors on pilings and sea walls
- From 0 to 300 feet depth
- 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 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
Photo: Herb Gruenhagen