Pycnopodia helianthoides

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Sunflower star: for more photos, see Sitka Nature Photo Gallery for Pycnopodia helianthoides
Sunflower star (Pycnopodia helianthoides): Pycnopodia helianthoides is the most famous starfish in Sitka Sound. Although Dawson's sun star (Solaster dawsoni) sometimes eats it, and gulls (Larus spp.) are sometimes seen eating small specimens, this species is generally considered to be an apex predator in shallow, soft substrates. It is also found in rocks, although it is less at-home there because its preferred prey items (bivalves) are less abundant.

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