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From a hairy tarantula to a talking African gray parrot, you never know what you’ll bump into in Ranger Rick's Backyard Safari at the Tennessee Aquarium!


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Rose Sea Star

Crossaster papposus

ON EXHIBIT:  Boneless Beauties at Ocean Journey.

Rose Sea Star

This sea star is easily identified by its many arms, usually 8-14, and its coloring, typically pink with concentric yellow or white circles. The rose sea star is sometimes also called the common sun star. Sea stars are masters of hydraulics. They move by pumping water into their bodies, down the radial canals that run the length of each arm, and eventually into hundreds of tube feet.  Each tube foot has an ampullae, or small balloon-like reservoir. When water is pushed from the ampullae into the tube feet, they extend; when water is pulled back into the ampullae the tube feet retract or latch on to a surface, like tiny suction cups.  Most sea stars move very slowly, but the Rose sea star is known as one of the faster species. Large individuals can cover more than 15 feet in just 12 hours.

Fan Photo

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About This Animal

SIZE: Up to 10 inches diameter

RANGE: Circumpolar; Alaska to Puget Sound, Washington

HABITAT: Rocky or sandy intertidal zones to about 4000 ft deep

DIET: Sea pens, nudibranchs, tunicates, bivalve mollusks