Although Patiria miniata are a common sight in the rocky intertidal zone, they have a variety of appearances. With either solid or mottled coloration, P. miniata are generally red, orange or white though they can also be yellow, green or even purple (1). Similarly, while most of these sea stars have five short, webbed arms some can have six to nine functional arms (2). They are omnivorous scavengers with the typical sea star feeding system of releasing digestive juices out of an extended stomach and then absorbing the liquified food into their stomach (2). P. miniata exhibit a commensal relationship with a polychaete worm, Ophiodromus pugettensis, that lives in the ambulacral groove, eating residual food (2).
(1) Bat Star. Georgia Aquarium. http://www.georgiaaquarium.org/animal-guide/georgia-aquarium/home/galler...
(2) Bat star. Monterey Bay Aquarium. https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animal-guide/invertebrates/bat-star
(Photograph) Gerald and Buff Corsi © California Academy of Sciences
- rocky intertidal