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Solaster stimpsoni

(Orange Sun Star)


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Common Names

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Common Names in English:

Orange Sun Star, Stimpson's Sun Star, Sun Star


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Physical Description

Species Solaster stimpsoni

This large mostly subtidal seastar has 9-12 (usually 10) rays and no pedicellariae. The paxillae on the aboral surface are crowded together giving a rather smooth grainy texture . The disk is about 1/4 the total diameter. Aboral surface usually red, pink, or orange with a gray or blue streak down the center of each ray from a patch from the central disk . Up to 50 cm diameter.[1]


Mostly rocky subtidal ; occasionally on floats and pilings. Depth Range : Extreme low intertidal to 610 m. [1]

Biome: Marine .

Ecology: May have a commensal polychaete scaleworm Arctonoe pulchra or Arctonie vittata in the ambulacral groove .[1]


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Feeds on small sea cucumbers, including Eupentacta quinquesemita, E. pseudoquinquesemita, Cucumaria miniata, C. curata, and Psolus chitonoides. May also eat tunicates such as Pyura haustor, brachiopods , and sea pens.[1]


Eggs are 0.9 to 1 mm diameter, yellow. Juveniles often hide among tubedwelling polychaete Phyllochaetopterus prolifica.[1]



Another common sun star, Solaster dawsoni, is an important predator of this species.[1]


A parasitic barnacle Dendrogaster sp may be inside the tissues . [1]


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Name Status: Accepted Name .

Last scrutiny: 27-Dec-2004

Similar Species

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Other sun stars have a central disk about 1/3 the total diameter and no prominent dark streaks on the aboral surface. The other most common sun star, S. dawsoni, has an orange, brown, tan, or mottled aboral surface. (Ref. 109953)

Members of the genus Solaster

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 4 species and subspecies in this genus:

S. dawsoni (Dawson's Sun Star) · S. endeca (Sea Star) · S. paxillatus (Solaster Paxillus) · S. stimpsoni (Orange Sun 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]
Last Revised: 2015-01-30