Family Poraniidae 

Dermasterias imbricate

DISTRIBUTION: Eastern North Pacific: Alaska to Northern California. 

HABITAT: On rocks and rocky reefs in subtidal areas.  APPEARANCE: Medium size sea star up to 5 Iin or 12 cm in diameter with disproportionately short broad arms with a smooth, slippery surface. Mottled coloring—bluish-grey with brown to orange blotches all over.  Oral side pale and smooth. Smells garlic-like.  

DIET: Mainly sea anemones, but also takes sea cucumbers, sea urchins, and other invertebrates. Leather stars, unlike many other sea stars, such as the ochre, bat, and pink sea stars, swallow their prey whole and digest internally. 

REPRODUCTION/DEVELOPMENT: Releases eggs and sperm; fertilized eggs float in plankton and develop into juveniles, which eventually settle out.

REMARKS: Known to eat the Plumose Anemone (Metridium senile and Metridium farcimen), and the Strawberry Anemone Corynactis californica.

Larger anemones have been observed to fight back by distending the mouth to envelope the attacking star. In the end the leather star often retreats and both the star and the anemone are none the worse for wear. 


LOCATION: Tidepool  CC15    **DisplayIntermittent