Where the Stars Come Out During the Day

Thanksgiving weekend 2011 brought thousands of visitors to FMR, and they were all treated to some daytime “star gazing” in the form of the many sea stars that make their homes in the rocky intertidal habitat.

The sunflower star has up to 22 legs and can measure 3 feet across.

The sunflower star is one of the most special finds in the reserve. And not just because they have so many arms (up to 22!); they prefer to hunt in the deeper zones of the intertidal, and so they are most visible during very low minus tides.

Other stars we saw included bat stars, ochre sea stars of both the purple and orange varieties, leather stars, and the pink star.

Bat stars can be pink, gray, brown, red and blue as well as this bright orange.

Bat stars can be pink, gray, brown, red and blue as well as this bright orange.

Visitors who watched patiently saw this leather star move around on tube feet.

Visitors who watched patiently saw this leather star move around on tube feet.

Ochre stars can be orange or this dark, almost brownish purple.

Ochre stars can be orange or this dark, almost brownish purple.

The pink star has graceful, tapering arms.

The pink star has graceful, tapering arms.

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