Bat Star

Scientific Name Patiria miniata

Native To Pacific Coast, from Alaska to Baja Mexico

Habitat Intertidal zone on the coast

Diet Omnivorous: eating both live and dead prey.

Size and Age Can grow to be 20 cm in diameter

Natural History

Bat stars are a pacific invertebrate dwelling in waters that are typically cold. They are so named for the bat-like webbing that exists between their five to nine arms. These animals come in a wide array of colors from red to green and can be solid colored or mottled in appearance. When bat stars reproduce, males and females release their gametes into the water, which are then carried out to sea where they unite. Bat stars are important to ocean ecosystems as they acts as detritivores and scavengers, cleaning the bottom of algae and dead animals.

Least Concern

Conservation Status

Many ocean invertebrates requires delicate and balanced conditions to survive. For this reason they are known as an indicator species. When ocean conditions change, ocean invertebrates are the first to be affected. Rising ocean temperatures and ocean acidification (from urban and agricultural run-off) are some of the factors that alter the water quality of our oceans.

Interesting Facts

  • Uses a gill-like structure on its back to breathe.
  • Unlike other sea stars, it is unable to open clams
  • Each arm has a light sensing organ that is used to navigate their rocky environment and find prey.
  • Bat stars may engage in combat which includes pushing and laying an arm over their opponent.
  • To eat, a bat star covers its prey with its stomach, then secretes digestive juices which liquefy the food.