JungleDragon is a nature and wildlife community for photographers, travellers and anyone who loves nature. We're genuine, free, ad-free and beautiful.

Join

A Gathering of Pisaster ochraceus. These Ochre Sea Stars are likely feeding on the barnacles attached to this exposed piling. They are exposed due to the extreme low tide. Up until 2013 this occurrence would have been commonplace but due to the “sea star wasting disease” it has been rare or nonexistent. Up until now! The Sunflower Seastar with its many arms have yet to recover. It’s good to see the return of these purple fellows. Canada,Geotagged,Pisaster ochraceus,Purple sea star,Summer Click/tap to enlarge PromotedCountry intro

A Gathering of Pisaster ochraceus.

These Ochre Sea Stars are likely feeding on the barnacles attached to this exposed piling. They are exposed due to the extreme low tide. Up until 2013 this occurrence would have been commonplace but due to the “sea star wasting disease” it has been rare or nonexistent. Up until now! The Sunflower Seastar with its many arms have yet to recover. It’s good to see the return of these purple fellows.

    comments (11)

  1. Cool shot! It's awesome that they are recovering! Posted 4 months ago
    1. We are pleased as well. What surprises me the most is how far they can travel. Right now the tidal variation is about 4.5 meters and from low tide to high tide they appear on the barnacled rocks that are now just covered with sea water at high tide. This group must of got lazy and didn’t follow the tide as it dropped. Posted 4 months ago
      1. That is an impressive distance. It's like they took a long hike and then didn't have the oomph for the return hike. I can totally relate ;P. Posted 4 months ago
        1. I can relate to the fact that they may be so absorbed in feasting on the barnacles they forget what else is happening around them. Posted 4 months ago
          1. Haha! Posted 4 months ago
  2. Yep so glad to see this. Hope the hard times are over for them. Posted 4 months ago
    1. Mark, thanks for your comment. We hope that also but with climate and other factors changing as they are it is hard to say. I’ll be much happier when there is a noticeable increase in Sunflower Seastar sightings. Posted 4 months ago
  3. So awesome! Posted 4 months ago
  4. From today's Facebook post:

    Whether you call them sea stars or starfish, these invertebrates are easily recognized thanks to their unique, five-armed shape. These two photos are of the same species: the ochre sea star (Pisaster ochraceus), which makes its home in the intertidal zone of the Pacific Ocean. Their vibrant colors range from bright orange to purple, or even a combination of the two!

    Ochre sea stars are keystone species because they have a disproportionately profound influence on other species in their ecosystems. A large part of their influence is because they voraciously predate upon the California mussel (Mytilus californianus), thus reducing its abundance and allowing other microinvertebrates to thrive, producing a diverse intertidal community. They are important indicators of the health of the intertidal zone. This is why the ochre sea star’s rapid destruction from sea star wasting syndrome, a disease that causes sea stars to rapidly disintegrate and die, is so alarming. Since 2013, sea stars along the North American Pacific coast have been dying in large numbers from this mysterious syndrome, the cause of which is still unknown. Evidence suggests that it could be brought on by a bacterium, virus, fungus, or by warmer water temperatures caused by climate change.

    There have been some signs of recovery, especially along the northern Pacific coast, where some juvenile sea stars have been spotted. But, their numbers are few and their performance has not yet returned to pre-disease levels. Interestingly, scientists have noticed genetic changes among the new generations. These changes appear to be part of a significant selection event that will culminate in a species-wide change, which will persist through future generations. Hopefully, the product of this genetic change will be resilient future generations that are more resistant to disease outbreaks. Microevolution in action! {Spotted in British Columbia, Canada by JungleDragon user, Gary Fast} #JungleDragon
    Posted 3 months ago
    1. Christine, many thanks! A fine write-up. Gary Posted 3 months ago
      1. You're welcome, Gary! These sea stars are such special spottings! Posted 3 months ago

Sign in or Join in order to comment.

''Pisaster ochraceus'', generally known as the purple sea star, ochre sea star, or ochre starfish, is a common starfish found among the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Identified as a keystone species, ''P. ochraceus'' is considered an important indicator for the health of the intertidal zone.

Similar species: Forcipulatida
Species identified by gary fast
View gary fast's profile

By gary fast

All rights reserved
Uploaded Aug 1, 2019. Captured Jul 31, 2019 11:40 in 311 Whaletown Rd, Whaletown, BC V0P 1Z0, Canada.
  • E-M5MarkII
  • f/10.0
  • 1/200s
  • ISO1600
  • 60mm