|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.
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