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Description

 Solaster endeca is a fairly large species up to 40 cm in diameter, although usually observed at approximately 20 cm. This species has 9-10 tapering arms (occasionally 7-13) set around a large disc. Its dorsal surface is supported by closely packed skeletal plates, which posess close-set, short paxillae that further bear spinelets (small, movable projections). It also bears two rows of marginal paxillae with the upper smaller than the lower. It is variable in colouration: dirty cream, orangey-red to bright pink-purple dorsally with a pale orange underside. The tips of the arms are commonly turned upwards to reveal the underside and two rows of tube feet (podium) with sucking discs. The adambulacral plates (series of calcareous plates flanking the ambulacral furrow), with a series of 2-3 spines (ambulacral furrow spines) also bear rows of 6-8 shorter spines.Solaster endeca breeds during March-April with direct development and, therefore, has no pelagic stage. It is a voracious predator on other Echinoderm species often eating animals nearly as large as itself (Gibson et al., 2001). It is the only British starfish with as many arms as Crossaster papposus (Picton, 1993), however, Solaster endeca has a much smoother appearance.

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©  The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Source: Marine Life Information Network

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