Phylum Echinodermata, Class Asteroidea, Order Forcipulatida, Family Asteriidae, 

Pisaster gianteus


DISTRIBUTION: Eastern Pacific coast from British Columbia to Baja California.

HABITAT: Rocky but also sandy substrates from middle to lower intertidal zone down to 300 ft or 90 m.

APPEARANCE: Five arms. Can be colored red, orange, brown, or green. Evenly spaced blunt white stubby spines surrounded by blue plaques.  Maximum arm span about 24 in or 60 cm.

DIET: Typical prey are hard-shelled organisms such as mussels, snails, and barnacles. May occasionally eat anything slow-moving enough to be caught, such as dying fish or shellfish, anenomes, or other sea stars.

REPRODUCTION and DEVELOPMENT: Individual sea stars are male or female. Broadcast spawners, both sexes release gametes into the water for external fertilization. Larvae are planktonic and have bilateral symmetry.

MORTALITY/LONGEVITY: Sea gulls and sea otters are sea star predators. Giant sea stars live about 20 years.