Pisaster (Ochre Star) Pisaster ochraceus (Brandt 1835). 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. Identification The mottled star comes in an extreme array of colours, from brown and dark blue-grey to rust, pink, and orange.The species has 5 long rays, and grows up to 56 cm across. Typically, there is a great abundance of food with little competition and the ochre star has very few predators. Since summer, 2013, s ea stars along much of the North American Pacific coast are dying in great numbers from a mysterious wasting syndrome.For more information about this, please click here. However, otters do not eat the entire sea star. Habitat & Range The mottled star is usually found on rocks and occasionally sand in … Orche sea star (Pisaster ochraceus). Ochre Sea Star - These carnivores are the principle predator of the Pacific Coast intertidal. Program, School of Marine … Project Title: Relationship between intertidal habitat complexity and Ochre sea star (Pisaster ochraceus) abundance. When it has consumed its meal, it … Their arms are up to 40 cm long and they are usually around 80 cm in diameter. The ochre sea star has a variety of colours. Like other sea stars, Pisaster ochraceus belongs to the phylum Echinodermata and the class Asteroidea. Ochre sea stars can be found in the waters between Alaska and California, living on rocks and between crevices. Keystone Paine Zoologist Robert T. Paine, who coined the term "keystone species," had an unorthodox way of doing his work. For the most part, the ochre star faces very little adversity within their habitat. (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Peter Gorman) Ochre sea stars are considered to be keystone species since they have a profound influence on their ecosystems, according Adult ochre sea stars appear to have few enemies, but some are eaten by sea otters and sea gulls. It eats by wrapping its arms around the mussle and prying its shell open. Previous Species | Google image results | Next Species. This can take a while, and you may find an ochre sea star humped up over a prey item while tidepooling. Instead of just observing the habitat of the Pisaster ochraceus sea star, Paine experimented by actually changing the habitat. Once the Current Position: Ph.D. The Ochre Sea Star. Although the word starfish is still a popular term, scientists generally use the word sea star for the animals because they aren't fish or even vertebrates. Its only known predators are sea gulls, which eat very few sea stars, and sea otters. Ochre stars in the north feed less in winter. The sunflower star has more arms than any other species, numbering between 15 and 24 (most sea stars have between 5 and 14), and is the heaviest known sea star, weighing about 5 kg. Pycnopodia helianthoides, the largest of the sea stars, is radially symmetrical. 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