Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Echinodermata
Class: Asteroidea
Order: Valvatida
Family: Goniasteridae

Genus/species: Mediaster aequalis

Vermillion Sea StarIMG_3431

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: 5-rayed sea star has conspicuous marginal plates. Orange to vermillion red. Aboral surface covered with oval or flat-topped hexagonal plates (ossicles). Oral side lighter. Up to 20 cm ( 7.9 inches) diameter.

 Vermillion Sea StarIMG_5328

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Alaska south to southern California. Common in subtidal waters; rarely exposed to the air. Found especially in rocky areas; occasionally on sand and gravel. Depth to 1,784 m (5,800 feet) max.

DIET IN THE WILD: Omnivorous: sponges, bryozoans, tunicates, algae, and detritus. Also known to feed on sea pens.

Vermillion Sea Star6182821598_7b9c9777d0_o

PREDATOR: Seastar Solaster dawsoni.

REMARKS: Moves more rapidly than most sea stars: up to 40 cm (16 inches) minute.


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