There are 2 kinds of multi-armed sunstars here. The spiny sunstar is the biggest and brightest. It glides around the seabed on its 10 or more arms, seeking out smaller starfish which it loves to eat. Spiny sunstars on the west coast are often beautifully patterned with alternating red and yellow bands, whereas those that live in muddier areas are usually grey or purple.
Spiny Sunstar (Photo: Paul Tyler)
A beautifully patterned sunstar with 13 arms, found on the west coast of Harris. Sun-stars from the east side are usually less colourful than this.
The purple sunstar looks quite different. It is smoother, very fleshy and a bit floppy, like a giant multi-armed common starfish. It is much less common than the spiny variety.
Purple Sunstar (Photo: Paul Tyler)
A purple sunstar checks out a rock crevice in search of something to eat.
by Paul Tyler