Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

Ochre Sea Star

Pisaster ochraceous


Fun Facts

    These sea stars are able to digest their prey outside of their bodies.




Distinguished by the dense, weblike pattern formed by its small white spines, the ochre sea star grows to lengths of 6-12 inches and is usually brown, orange, or purple. Adult ochre sea stars appear to have few enemies, but some are eaten by sea otters and sea gulls. Capable of clinging to rocks in the intertidal to depths of 300 feet from Alaska to Baja, California, they feed on attached or slow-moving prey like mussels, barnacles, snails, limpets and chitons. Feeding is accomplished by utilizing tube feet to pry mussel shells slightly apart and inserting its muscular stomach into slits as narrow as 0.l mm. Digestion actually occurs inside the shells. Ochre sea stars may live for more than 20 years. 
Ochre sea stars are usually found at the Aquarium in tank number 1 and at the touch tank.