Below are examples of starfishes I’ve run across on Pacific Northwest shores. It’s a scant list. Nevertheless, my organization follows Lamb and Hanby (2005). The common names are my choice. I refer to WoRMS for scientific names, and I learn a ton by browsing the natural history riches in Kozloff (1993). Biodiversity of the Central Coast’s Echinoderms page is full of great information on starfishes. For more information, the books, field guides, and other resources listed at the bottom of the page cover the sea stars I show below.
No tidepool invertebrate on northeastern Pacific shores evokes more human fascination and connection. When Pisaster’s doing well, all seems right with the world.
Leptasterias, six-rayed stars
I think the examples shown here are what people refer to as L. hexactis, but this is a complex with unclear boundaries, so I’ll leave it at Leptasterias for now.
I haven’t encountered these predators in the wild intertidal since April 2013.
Gotshall, D. W. 2005. Guide to Marine Invertebrates, Alaska to Baja California 2nd Edition (Revised). Shoreline Press.
Harbo, R. M. 2011. Whelks to Whales: Coastal Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest. 2nd ed. Harbour Publishing Co.
Kozloff, E. N. 1993. Seashore Life of the Northern Pacific Coast. 3rd ed. University of Washington Press.
Lamb, A. and B. P. Hanby. 2005. Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest. Harbour Publishing.
Sept. J. D. 2009. The Beachcomber’s Guide to Seashore Life in the Pacific Northwest. Revised ed. Harbour Publishing.
Biodiversity of the Central Coast’s Echinoderms page is full of great information on Pacific Northwest starfishes.
This page was updated April 14, 2022