Starfish, Pacific Northwest
The sunflower starfish can be found from Alaska to Southern California and can be found in great abundance on all areas of the pacific northwest coast. They can reach lengths of 46 cm, making them one of the biggest starfish in our area.
They can be seen from sandy beaches to rocky areas, hiding under kelp and other plants, waiting to pounce on a unsuspecting meal.
They are of a red to orange color normally but can be yellow, purple or purple grey. they are in the form of a broad disc with up to 24 rays (arms) but are usually born with five rays. They are covered in a network of spines on the top side and have pincers and gills on the under side.
These starfish are the fastest in our area and can travel at about 110 meters an hour.
They can be seen right at the shore line and show up in great numbers there but they also are seen up to depths of 450 meters. They like to dig up and feed on butter clams.