Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Pink Sea Star

Pisaster brevispinus

The Pink Sea star, also called the “short-spined” or “giant pink star,” has five arms that are thickest near the central disk. It's top surface has 2 mm. spines arranged in networks or clusters. This starfish is typically seen in pink or lavender with shades of grey. It may regrow limbs if the central disk is intact.

Range & Habitat

Pacific Coast of North America from Alaska to southern California in subtidal areas with muddy or sandy bottoms to about 110 meters in depth.

Conservation Status: Not Evaluated


In the wild -- sand dollars, ocean worms, mussels, clams and other bivalve mollusks. An opportunistic scavenger,it also feeds on dead fish and other animals.

At the Zoo - Shrimp, shellfish, fish flakes.

Life Span

Unknown, but some species of Sea Stars live for more than 30 years.

Fun Facts about the Pink Sea Star

  • This species of Sea Star was the inspiration for Patrick Star of "SpongeBob SquarePants" fame.
  •  It is one of the largest known species of sea star, with a diameter up to 64 cm. 
  •   It competes with the Sunflower Sea Star for food when they both find the same prey. 
  •  The tube feet next to the mouth can be used to pull up prey from the ocean floor.
  •  It can turn its stomach inside out, up to 8 cm, to digest prey in the shell.     


Georgia Aquarium. (2022). Pink Sea Star. Retrieved January  2022.

Biodiversity of the Central Coast. (2013). Spiny pink star, pink sea star, ,giant pink star, short-spined sea star  Pisaster brevispinus. Retrieved January 2022.

Invertebrates of the Salish Sea. (2005).  Pisaster brevispinus (Stimpson, 1857). Retrieved January 2022.

Seattle Aquarium. (2022). Sea star fact sheet. Retrieved January 2022.

Updated June 13, 2023
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