Purple Sunstar

Scientific name:Solaster endeca

Phylum: Echinodermata

Class: Asteroidea

Description: Purple Sunstars’ colour can range from yellowish-red to purple.They can grow up to 40.6cm (diameter), and possess 9-10 arms.

Distribution: They are found in the Atlantic Ocean from the Arctic or sub-arctic south to the Gulf of Maine , in deep water about 120ft. or greater. They generally live in sub-tidal rocky areas.

Locomotion: They use “tube feet” which are connected to ampullae to move. When ampullae contract, fluid is forced into the tube feet, extending them; small muscles direct the tube feet in one direction or another. Sea stars migrate to deeper water in winter.

Food gathering: Purple Sunstars prey mostly on sea cucumbers. They wrap their arms around their prey, evert their stomach over it and release digestive enzymes.

Gas exchange: Gas exchange occurs across the podia and special out-pocketing of body wall. The currents move in opposite directions, creating a countercurrent and maximizing exchanges gradients.

Reproduction: The sexes are separated, with eggs being fertilized externally.

Interesting facts: They are capable of regenerating lost or damaged arms.


sendeca01sendeca02sendeca03 - skinsendeca04 - juvenile


OSC Research

Mercier Lab - Predation studies on the Orange footed Sea cucumber by the Purple Sunstar are being carried out by Masters student, Justin So.


Ocean Sciences

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000