E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Solaster paxillatus Sladen, 1889
Orange Sun Star
Family: Solasteridae
Photo of species

© Neil McDaniel  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #15920)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Solaster paxillatus in British Columbia
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Family Description:

Broad disc with five or more long arms. The aboral skeleton is meshlike; the plates bear pseudopaxillae. The marginal pseudopaxillae are larger than the aborals. Oral intermediates are present. The adambulacral spines consist of two series at right angles to each other. The mouth plates are prominent. No pedicellariae.

Species Information

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Solaster paxillatus has 8 to 10 arms up to 19 cm long. The arms are broad at the base, narrowing rapidly to the tip. The body is orange aborally and yellow orally. A specimen off Oregon at 457 metres was violet on both sides. Viewed from above, the marginals create a serrated edge, just as in S. dawsoni, but the arrangement of the adambulacral spines will separate these two species. The ratio of arm to disc is from 3.0 to 3.7. The aboral pseudopaxillae are evenly spaced and each bears a crown of numerous fine spinelets about as long as the pseudopaxilla is high. Between each arm there is often a suggestion of a bare streak. On dried specimens the aboral skeleton forms a squarish or diamond-shaped mesh with a pseudopaxilla at each junction of the mesh. The papulae occur in groups of 1 to 12. About 60 large fan-shaped inferomarginals create a serrated edge to the arm. Superomarginals are about the same size as the largest aboral pseudopaxilla and situated just above and between each inferomarginal. The oral interradial area contains numerous pseudopaxillae topped with a compact cluster of spinelets slightly longer than the base of the pseudopaxilla. The adambulacrals are similar in general appearance to those of S. dawsoni, with 4 furrow spines reducing to 1 distally, and on the oral surface of the plate, a curved transverse series of 5 to 8 long slender spines only slightly longer than the furrow spines. The proximal spine of the transverse series meets the distal spine of the furrow series. The mouth plates are large and shovel-like with 8 to 11 webbed marginal spines and up to 20 finer suboral spines.

Similar Species

Solaster paxillatus differs from other Solaster species in body proportions and adambulacral spines.


Solaster paxillatus is probably carnivorous, like other species of Solaster. Stomach contents recorded: the Sweet Potato Sea Cucumber (Molpadia intermedia) and the Blood Star (Henricia leviuscula leviuscula).



The Bering Sea to northern Oregon and to Yokohama, Japan. Specimens have been collected in depths of 11 to 640 metres on rock, gravel and mud. Rare in this region (the area from Glacier Bay to Puget Sound to a depth to 200 metres). Three specimens recorded in British Columbia and one each in Washington and Oregon.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2024-07-13 6:40:10 AM]
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