The Bat Starfish,
Asterina miniata, is so
named because of its resemblence to a bat. The arms are not as clearly seperated as with other species, but more distinct than
those of a "sand dollar". They come in a wide variety of colors.
Like other starfish they mate by "broadcasting" their gametes (eggs and sperm) into the water. This is roughly synchronized but they
do it whether there are other starfish around or not.
Bat stars are often scavengers but they can
also be predatory. Small annelids (worms) liven in their oral grooves. This doesn't seem to harm the bat star, but it is unclear
what, if anything, the batstar gains from this relationship.
Batstars can grow to 8 inches accross and are found on the west coast of North America from Alaska to Baja California. They have an
important role as scavengers.