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Dermasterias imbricata

(Bat Star)


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Common Names

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Common Names in English:

Bat Star, Leather Star


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Physical Description

Species Dermasterias imbricata

This star has a broad central disk and 5 short rays which taper broadly to the central disk. The rays are not bordered by marginal plates . The entire aboral surface is smooth and slippery, reddish brown with blue-gray patches or reticulations , and without spines. The thickness is about 1/3 the diameter, the madreporite can be seen. Smells distinctive--almost like garlic or burned gunpowder. Arm radius to 15 cm.[1]


Mostly on rocks, can also be found on sand or mud . Seems to prefer at least partially sheltered areas.[1]

Typically found in the intertidal zone at the water's edge at a mean distance from sea level of 93.17 meters (305.68 feet).[2]

Biome: Coastal.


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Prey include diatoms , sponges, bryozoans , sea pens , anemones, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, and chitons , ascidians , and fish eggs . Anemones are said to be one of its major prey items. It usually swallows its prey whole and digests them internally. The swimming anemone Stomphia sp has a strong escape response from this species; as does the purple urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus. Stomphia swims away, while S. purpuratus pulls in its tube feet, depresses its spines, and extends its pedicellariae; then races away. The scaleworm Arctonoe vittata is a common commensal, and the worm and the seastar are mutually attracted to one another.[1]


In Wasington, spawning is from April to August. Females release yellow eggs which are fertilized in the water.[1]



A parasitic barnacle Dendrogaster sp may be found inside.


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Name Status: Accepted Name .

Last scrutiny: 27-Dec-2004

Similar Species

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Pteraster tesselatus does not have a visible madreporite and secretes copious quantities of slime. Asterina miniata and Mediaster aequalis have clearly visible interlocking ossicles on the aboral surface. (Ref. 109953)

Members of the genus Dermasterias

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 1 species and subspecies in this genus:

D. imbricata (Bat Star)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal February 01, 2008:



  1. Cowles, Dave. Key to Invertebrates Found At or Near The Rosario Beach Marine Laboratory (a campus of Walla Walla University) Fidalgo Island, Anacortes, WA May 2009. [back]
  2. Standard Deviation = 248.970 based on 127 observations. Terrestrial altitude and ocean depth information for each observation from British Oceanographic Data Centre. [back]
Last Revised: 2014-05-08