North Island Explorer: Guide to North Vancouver Island






Ochre Sea star/ Purple Sea Star: Pisaster ochraceus


Ochre Star (Pisaster ochraceus)

Other names: common sea star, ochre star, ochre starfish, purple star, purple sea star, purple starfish.


Photo 1: Ochre sea star.

This starfish is the most common starfish in the intertidal zone. Frequently, it is a rich purple color, but it can also be orange or brown. The skin is rough and covered with short white spines that form patterns usually with a distinct star pattern in the center. (Taken at Shelter Point Reef)


Photo 2: Ochre stars feeding on a crab.

Ochre stars are often seen scavenging whatever they can find. But they are also predators, feeding on mussel and barnacle beds. They pull a shell apart with their powerful arms and insert their stomach into the shell. (Taken at Shelter Point Reef)


Photo 3: An aggregation of ochre starfish.

Ochre stars often form large breeding and feeding aggregations. It is not uncommon to find a dozen or more individuals together. (Taken at Shelter Point Reef)








Ochre sea star with strong purple coloration.

Two ochre stars feeding on a dead kelp crab.

 Ochre starfish aggregation.




































Other Pacific Northwest Sea Stars: Blood Star, Leather Star, Six-rayed Sea Star, Sunflower Star