Sunflower stars have more arms than other starfish, sometimes having as many as twenty four! They can grow very large, becoming as much as 80cm (31in) across.
Scientific name: Pycnopodia helianthoides
Sunstars get quite caught up in a feeding frenzy.
Filmed using timelapse photography, a giant sunflower starfish devours the carcass of an octopus. But the tide turns as a pack of red sea urchins turn him into a pin cushion and he is royally disarmed by a hungry king crab.
New timelapse techniques capture the frenzied life of California's star gardens.
Using a flash strobe system linked to an in-built timer mechanism on his digital stills camera, cameraman Peter Kragh filmed timelapse in the wild for the first time. Previously, such sequences have been filmed in tanks. To the naked eye, these invertebrates seem inanimate, but at ultra-high speed their frenetic activity is revealed.
The following habitats are found across the Sunflower star distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Pycnopodia helianthoides, commonly known as the sunflower seastar, is a large sea star found in the northeast Pacific. It is the largest sea star in the world, with a maximum armspan of 1 m (3.3 ft). Sunflower seastars usually have 16 to 24 limbs; their color can vary widely. They are predatory, feeding mostly on sea urchins, clams, snails, and other small invertebrates.
Take a trip through the natural world with our themed collections of video clips from the natural history archive.
Some of the most memorable sequences in natural history result from timelapse photography, an astonishing filming technique that opens our eyes to a whole new world.
Narrated by Sir David Attenborough Planet Earth was the ground-breaking series that explored the wild and beautiful parts of our planet like never before.
In autumn 2009, a major new series brought us life as we've never seen it before.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.