Purple Sunstar

Scientific name: Solaster endeca

Phylum: Echinodermata

Class: Asteroidea

Description: Purple Sunstars’ colour can range from yellowish-red to purple.They can grow up to 40.6cm (diameter), and possess 9-10 arms.

Distribution: They are found in the Atlantic Ocean from the Arctic or sub-arctic south to the Gulf of Maine , in deep water about 120ft. or greater. They generally live in sub-tidal rocky areas.

Locomotion: They use “tube feet” which are connected to ampullae to move. When ampullae contract, fluid is forced into the tube feet, extending them; small muscles direct the tube feet in one direction or another. Sea stars migrate to deeper water in winter.

Food gathering: Purple Sunstars prey mostly on sea cucumbers. They wrap their arms around their prey, evert their stomach over it and release digestive enzymes.

Gas exchange: Gas exchange occurs across the podia and special out-pocketing of body wall. The currents move in opposite directions, creating a countercurrent and maximizing exchanges gradients.

Reproduction: The sexes are separated, with eggs being fertilized externally.

Interesting facts: They are capable of regenerating lost or damaged arms.


sendeca01 sendeca04 - juvenile


OSC Research

Mercier Lab - Predation studies on the Orange footed Sea cucumber by the Purple Sunstar are being carried out by Masters student, Justin So.