Morning Sun Star (Solaster dawsoni)

A Sun Star (Solaster) sitting on top of Clare Reimers’ (OSU) Benthic Observer platform at Oregon Offshore (600m). Credit: UW/NSF-OOI/WHOI, V19

These sea stars are found on either side of the North Pacific, usually in rocky habitats but sometimes in other types of seabed. They have a fairly wide disc and 8 to 13 (usually 11 or 12) long, tapering arms, often with turned-up tips, and can grow to 40 cm (16 in) in width. The upper (aboral) surface is smooth, and usually red, orange, grey, or pale brown, sometimes with paler patches.

These predators feed mainly on other types of starfish, including members of its own species. Other sea stars will rapidly recoil and attempt to escape if they sense sun stars nearby. They have been seen on and around OOI infrastructure at the Oregon Shelf (80 m) and Offshore (600 m) sites.