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Pycnopodia helianthoides
THE RACE ROCKS TAXONOMY
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Domain Eukarya
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Echinodermata
Class Asteroidea
Order Forcipulatida
Family Asteriidae
Genus Pycnopodia
Species helianthoides
common name Sunflower Star
Ryan Loreen
In this video clip, Ryan Murphy displays the dorsal side ( aboral) of a Pycnopodia to the Minister of Fisheries and Minister of BC Parks Loreen Pindera displays the oral side of the pycnopodia to shore-bound visitors.
back lift arm 56kvideo
The dorsal side , with grey tufts where the gills are loated. White pincers on the dorsal side are the pedicellaria The tube feet of the Pycnopodia See the video above at lower bandwidth.. 56k This video with the escape response of an abalone.
pycnopodia pycnopodia pedicellaria Pycnopodia and Urchins Pycnopodia
Pycnopodia : These three lower photos are derived from photos by Dr.A.Svoboda Dorsal surface showing gills. Close up of pedicellaria, tiny forcep-like structures used to defend the surface. A good habitat image of bith Pycnopodia and the giant red urchin. Photos by Pearson College Divers.
Pycnopodia eye spot.
On May 12, 2011, Adam Harding took this picture of the red eye spot at the end of a tentacle.
Pycnopodia tend to be found thriving in regions rich in seaweed, in low intertidal zones on rocky shores. They have an arm radius that ranges from forty to sixty-five centimeters. Small juveniles have five arms but develop twenty four by the time they are adults. Pycnopodia have an aboral surface and are usually pink, purple or brown in color. Occasionally they will be red or yellow in color. They also have the ability to regenerate lost arms. Pycnopodia are the largest, heaviest and most active of the Pacific coast sea stars. Pycnopodia feed on Stronglyocentrotus purpuratus (the purple sea urchin), bivalves, polychaetes, chitons, snails, hermit crabs, crabs, sea cucumber, and Leptasterias sea stars . The Pycnopodia utilize over fifteen thousand sucker feet when capturing prey. Their prey is swallowed whole and digested internally, and they have the ability to partially evert their stomach. Antagonistic, combative behavior has been observed when two Pycnopodia encounter one another. The key predator of the Pycnopodia is the King Crab. A fourfold increase in speed has been noted when the Pycnopodia is in contact with a predator. If the Pycnopodia does not escape, the predator will latch on to one of its many arms and begin to feed.

References cited:

Marine Invertebrates of the Pacific Northwest, Eugene N Kozloff, 1996, University of Washington Press
Intertidal Invertebrates of California, Robert H Morris Donald P Abbot and Eugene C Haderlie, 1980, Stanford University Press
Pacific Seashores- A Guide to Intertidal Ecology, Thomas Carefoot, 1977, J.J. Douglas Ltd

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The Race Rocks Taxonomy
This file is provided as part of a collaborative effort by the students, faculty, staff and volunteers of Lester B. Pearson College
Dec. 2001 Hannah McKinnon
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