Tongass National Forest, National Geographic Magazine: Sunstar Fish

Fingers touch spiny star fish that has 16 legs spread out on green algea.

As the tide recedes, a common sunstar (Crossaster papposus) is exposed on a bed of green seaweed on the sheltered, unspoiled estuary of Chichagof Island in Alaska’s southeast. Intertidal and subtital zones establish thriving communities of marine life but the sunstar prefers rocky bottoms, coarse sand, and gravel of the circalittoral zone (in coastal areas, from the high water mark to shallow areas that are always sumberged), and prefers areas of high water movement.

Sunstars have eight to fourteen arms that radiate out from a central disk and are covered with brushlike spines. They are omnivores and scavengers, eating smaller starfish, swallowing them whole.

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