Animalia > Echinodermata > Asteroidea > Forcipulatida > Pycnopodiidae > Pycnopodia > Pycnopodia helianthoides

Pycnopodia helianthoides (Sunflower sea star)

Synonyms: Asterias helianthoides

Wikipedia Abstract

Pycnopodia helianthoides, commonly known as the sunflower seastar, is a large sea star found in the northeast Pacific. It is among the largest sea stars in the world, with a maximum armspan of 1 m (3.3 ft). Sunflower seastars usually have 16 to 24 limbs; their color can vary widely. They are predatory, feeding mostly on sea urchins, clams, snails, and other small invertebrates.
View Wikipedia Record: Pycnopodia helianthoides


Diet [1]  Omnivore
Water Biome [1]  Benthic

Prey / Diet

Alia carinata (carinate dovesnail)[2]
Balanus crenatus (Crenate barnacle)[3]
Balanus glandula (Acorn barnacle)[3]
Californiconus californicus (California cone)[2]
Calliostoma ligatum (blue topsnail)[2]
Chthamalus dalli (Barnacle)[3]
Clinocardium nuttallii (Nuttall cockle)[3]
Clupea pallasii (Pacific herring)[3]
Crossaster papposus (spiny sun star, common sun star)[3]
Cryptochiton stelleri (Giant Pacific Chiton)[3]
Dermasterias imbricata (Leather sea star)[3]
Diopatra ornata[3]
Enteroctopus dofleini (North Pacific giant octopus)[3]
Entodesma navicula (rock entodesma)[3]
Eupentacta quinquesemita (Sea cucumber)[3]
Fusitriton oregonensis (Oregon triton)[3]
Haliotis corrugata (pink abalone)[3]
Haliotis cracherodii (black abalone)[3]
Haliotis kamtschatkana (pinto abalone)[3]
Haliotis rufescens (red abalone)[3]
Katharina tunicata (black katy)[3]
Kelletia kelletii (Kellet's whelk)[3]
Leptasterias tenera (Slender sea star)[3]
Leukoma staminea (Pacific littleneck)[3]
Lottia scutum (plate limpet)[3]
Loxorhynchus grandis (sheep crab)[3]
Mesocentrotus franciscanus (Red sea urchin)[4]
Modiolus sacculifer (bag horsemussel)[3]
Mopalia swanii[3]
Mytilus californianus (California mussel)[3]
Neobernaya spadicea (chestnut cowrie)[3]
Nucella lamellosa (frilled dogwinkle)[3]
Ophiothrix spiculata (Spiny brittlestar)[3]
Pachythyone rubra[3]
Phragmatopoma californica (Sand-builder worm)[3]
Pisaster ochraceus (Ochre sea star)[3]
Pugettia producta (northern kelp crab)[3]
Pycnopodia helianthoides (Sunflower sea star)[3]
Sebastes serriceps (Treefish)[3]
Semibalanus cariosus (thatched barnacle)[3]
Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis (Green sea urchin)[3]
Strongylocentrotus purpuratus (Purple sea urchin)[4]
Tegula pulligo (dusky tegula)[2]
Terebratalia transversa (Lampshell)[3]
Trichotropis cancellata (cancellate hairysnail)[3]


Enhydra lutris (Sea Otter)[3]
Larus glaucescens (Glaucous-winged Gull)[5]
Loxorhynchus grandis (sheep crab)[3]
Pycnopodia helianthoides (Sunflower sea star)[3]
Solaster stimpsoni (Striped sun star)[3]

Institutions (Zoos, etc.)

Institution Infraspecies / Breed 
Aquarium & Rainforest at Moody Gardens
Aquarium du Quebec
John G. Shedd Aquarium
Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo
Riverbanks Zoo and Garden
Rotterdam Zoo
Smithsonian National Zoological Park
Steinhart Aquarium (CA Acad of Science
Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Ctr


California; Oregon;



Attributes / relations provided by 1Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. 2006. The Animal Diversity Web (online). Accessed February 01, 2010 at 2Herrlinger, TJ, (1983) THE DIET AND PREDATOR-PREY RELATIONSHIPS OF THE SEA STAR PYCNOPODIA HELIANTHOIDES (BRANDT) FROM A CENTRAL CALIFORNIA KELP FOREST Master of Arts Thesis, San Jose State University 3Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics. 4D. J. Moitoza and D. W. Phillips, Prey defense, predator preference, and nonrandom diet: The interactions between Pycnopodia helianthoides and two species of sea urchins, Marine Biology Volume 53, Number 4 (1979), 299-304 5Wootton, J. Timothy. "Estimates and tests of per capita interaction strength: diet, abundance, and impact of intertidally foraging birds." Ecological Monographs 67.1 (1997): 45+. Academic OneFile. Web. 23 July 2010
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Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License
Weather provided by NOAA METAR Data Access