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Bat Starfish

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.

Batstar bottom
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Batstar click to see larger
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One unuusal feature of the Bat Starfish is that the plates that make up its outer skin are so large and well defined that they are quite clearly visible and some have compared them to shingles.

Just as humans normally have five fingers but some individuals have extras, bat starfish normally have five arms but sometimes have as many as nine arms.

Bat Starfish can be found from the intertidal zone out to a depth of about 950 feet.

Batstars are known to eat other species of starfish on occasion. Sometimes fights occur between Batstars which take the form of arm wrestling where each tries to get its arm on top of the other one.

batstar bottom
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