Alaska Species Explorer

Rose Star

Common Name: Rose Star
Scientific Name: Crossaster papposus
Size: Up to 12 inches (30cm) diameter, most often with 11 rays (8-16 rays)

Circumpolar in the Northern Hemisphere, in the Pacific south to Sea of Okhotsk and to Puget Sound, Washington.

Habitat: Intertidal to 1,200m (3,900ft), prefers areas with low current
Life History:

Breeding occurs from March to April and each star can spawn several times within a season.  A female sea star can release more than 2000 eggs at a time.

Diet in the Wild: Broad diet of sea pens, mollusks, bryozoans and tunicates
Natural Predators: Sunflower Star, Dawson’s Sun Star
Population Status:

This is a common sea star in the northern Pacific and there is no indication that their populations are unhealthy.

Additional Information:

This species may have 8-16 arms, or rays, but 10-11 rays are most common.  Many sea stars, including the rose star, have a commensal relationship with polychaete scale worms, the sea star provides food and protection to the worm.

Fun Facts:
  • This attractive sea star gets its name from the red, pink or purple radiating rings of color on its back.
  • A relatively fast sea star, the rose star has been clocked at a blistering 70cm/min!