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Pacific Blood Star Henricia leviuscula


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Pacific Blood Star
credit: Medtrails

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Alternate name: Pacific Henricia

Category: Seastars and relatives view all from this category

Description Henricia leviuscula, commonly called the Pacific blood star, it is a species of starfish found along the Pacific coast of North America.

They can usually be identified by their bright orange red color, but there can also be many variations from tan to almost purple. The disk can be a mottled gray color. There can also be saddle-like marking of lilac blotches between the rays, but the rays are not mottled. They commonly have 5 rays (occasionally 4–6). The rays are slender and appear smooth due to the lack of pedicellariae and spines. The species is relatively small, the diameter is usually over 8 cm and rarely gets larger than 12 cm. As with all seastars the blood star has a madreporite which can be seen below.

Sexes are dioecious and females are not known to brood young. This statement is in conflict with other sources that state that smaller females brood their young and larger females discharge eggs directly in the water and do not brood them. This is one reason that is leading biologists to believe this is a species complex. Embryonic stages do not adhere to one another but float freely. Post-hatching larvae are ciliated and swim. Spawned eggs have been measured at 1342 μm diameter.

Habitat Rocks.

Range Western Canada, Alaska, California, Northwest.