Sea Stars Of The Pacific North West

Class Asteroidea
Order Valvatida
Family Goniasteridae

ARCTIC COOKIE STAR

Ceramaster arcticus

Identification:
Broadly pentagonal, rigid. Aboral surface with small flat-topped plates. Arms and disc bordered by large marginal plates. Usually pink, often with darker red accents. To 11 cm (4.2 in) across.

Range:
Aleutian Islands (Attu), Alaska, to the Strait of Juan de Fuca; intertidal to 186 m (620 ft).
Notes:
Preys upon various species of sponges, including the PEACH BALL SPONGE Suberites concinnus*. This small but attractive star is a relatively rare find and seems to be more abundant in the north. One hot spot for sightings is Outer Narrows at the entrance to Slingsby Channel where I have seen several on a dive. Another site is Skiakl Bay, Stephens Island (near Prince Rupert), where up to six have been seen on a single dive (personal communication, Pauline Ridings). Other records are from Race Rocks; Defence Islands, Howe Sound*; and a unusually pale specimen from Sechelt Inlet*. It is reportedly found intertidally at Attu Island in the far western Aleutian Islands.