Leather Star    Dermasterias imbricata



Ranging from central coast of Alaska to northern Mexico, this large sea star inhabits the low intertidal zone to depths of around 300 ft on rock and sand. 


It’s dorsal and ventral surface is smooth without the surface spines of other sea stars.  However the tube feet are protected by smooth spines.  The red/tan color is characteristic of the species.  It grows up to 12 inches across. 


The leather star feeds on several species of anemone as well as sea cucumbers and sea urchins.  It is fed upon by other sea stars.  Interestingly it has a garlic-like odor which may be the result of a defensive chemical used to ward off predators.


Like other sea stars, the leather sea star has specialized sense organs on the upturned tips of each arm.  There is a primitive light detection organ as well as ones for touch and chemicals.