Blood Star (Henrica leviuscula)

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Coldwater Marine Aquatics recommends you keep these animals in 55F-60F water.

The Blood Star is characterized by its brilliant red or reddish-orange color. Its comparatively small and graceful body is only 10 to 12 cm from the tip of one ray to the tip of the one across from it. It has an arm radius to 8.9 cm, usually less; its disk is small, its arms are long, tapering, and are usually five in name (sometimes four or six); it has an absent pedicellariae; its aboral surface has a tan to orange-red or purple color., often banded with darker shades, and bearing many groups of short spinlets arranged in a fine network.

Habitat: Common on protected sides of rocks, under rocks, and in caves and pools, more frequently where rock is encrusted with sponges and bryozoans, low intertidal zone, subtidal to over 400 m.

The sea star feeds on bacteria and other tiny particles, which are captured in mucus and swept to the mouth by ciliated tracts. It may also feed by applying the stomach to the surfaces of sponges and bryozoa.

Breeding habits in the sea star vary with size. Smaller females brood their eggs in a depression around the mouth formed by arching the arms. Larger females discharge eggs directly into the water and do not brood them. The sperm have spherical heads and the eggs are orange-yellow and yolky, and development is direct.

Photos: Stuart Wobbe

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