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Leather Star: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Informative and interesting leather star facts.

The leather star, Dermasterias imbricata, also known as a garlic star, is a five legged sea star or starfish that belongs to the phylum Echinodermata. It prefers to live in depths of nearly 100 m (330 ft) and dwells in cold waters. The leather star got its name because of its leather like the texture of the skin. The habitats range includes the coast of Alaska, Northern Mexico, Sacramento reef, Baja California, Sitka, and many more. Leather star is known as an excellent natural indicator of environmental health. This sea creature, as it cannot eat like other fishes, consumes their prey whole in their mouth. Their diet mainly consists of sea urchins, sea pens, sea cucumber, sponges, and other invertebrates that they can prey on the whole.

This sea creature is sensitive to touch, and it is usually believed that they communicate among themselves through a sensation of touch. The identification features involve a disk, five arms with tube like structures, slimy surface, absences of spines, and red orange coloring with bluish-grey patches. This starfish is related to other marine invertebrates such as sand dollars and sea urchins. This sea star is the favorite food of morning sun stars, which is also a sea star but with 10-12 arms. Starfish in general are mostly found under rocks, on the seashore, and on beaches. They can be found in seawater, and the identification of the starfish is easy due to their star like features. Some people have raised them as pets in aquariums or fish tanks.

If you like aquatic animals, you may also want to check out these Indus river dolphin facts and brain coral facts.

Leather Star Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a leather star?

The leather star, Dermasterias imbricata is a species of sea star, of the family Asteropsidae. It was first described by Adolph Eduard Grube in the year 1857.

What class of animal does a leather star belong to?

The leather star or garlic star is a starfish that belongs to the Asteroidea class of animal.

How many leather stars are there in the world?

The population size of this fish species is unknown. They can be found abundantly in North America.

Where does a leather star live?

This sea star species lives in numerous ecosystems. They commonly thrive in intertidal zones and tide pool zones. They can be greatly found around the coast of Alaska and the Canadian coast since they prefer the weather in these regions. You can find them on rocky bottoms and sandy sea beds. Also, they use various manmade objects, such as pilings and docks, to forage food. These sea stars like to live in depths of up to 330 ft (100 m) in the waters.

What is a leather star's habitat?

The main habitat of leather sea star species can be found on the western coast of North America. They also live right from Prince William Sound, Pacific Northwest, central coast of Alaska to San Diego, down to the coasts of Canada, and the northern coast of Mexico. These leather stars mostly thrive near the sea coast only. Some people have raised them as pets in aquariums.

Who do leather stars live with?

Leather stars are anti-social animals and mostly live alone. However, sometimes they gather in enormous groups during specific times of the year to forage. Also, they occasionally show symbiotic relationships with a worm known as Arctonoe vittata. This worm also associates with various other marine creatures. It snips off tiny polychaete's head as the leather sea stars move in the water. Not so often but some species of genus Dendrogaster live as an endoparasite in the bodies of leather stars.

How long does a leather star live?

The lifespan of the Dermasterias imbricata species is unknown. However, in the wild, the average lifespan of all starfish species is up to 35 years.

How do they reproduce?

The leather sea stars are both sexual and asexual animals. Sexual reproduction occurs through a process known as spawning in which both males and females release their gametes (spermatozoa and eggs) into the water where they meet and fertilization occurs. Spawning season is between April and August. The color of the little eggs ranges between yellow and orange. After the formation of embryos, they are carried away by sea currents. Embryos go through a free swimming larval stage. There are two types of larvae: Bipinnaria and Brachiolaria. These larvae are a part of zooplanktons. Both types have cilia for locomotion but settle down to the surface of the sea when developing into adults. In asexual reproduction, the starfish species can produce young ones without any fertilization. If accidentally, an arm or limb is cut off from the body of the sea stars, it has the ability to regenerate into a new individual. These seawater stars can also split themselves into half, and both halves rejuvenate into different individuals

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the leather stars, Dermasterias imbricata is unknown. They were found greatly among the coast of Alaska and North America. This species of invertebrates need delicate and balanced environmental conditions in their habitat to survive. It is why these sea stars are known as indicator species because when the environment changes, they are one of those creatures who will get affected. Various factors, such as rising temperature, acidification, pollution, or bioaccumulation can alter ocean health.

Leather Star Fun Facts

What do leather stars look like?

Leather stars or garlic star is an echinoderm with a wide central disk and five large arms or rays or plump, which give these sea creatures a typical 'star' like appearance. The arms do not have any marginal plates but possess two rows of tiny tube feet. The top surface of their bodies is smooth and slimy with reddish orange coloration, along with patches of red and blue gray patches or reticulation. Also, the top body part of looks bigger. Spines and pedicellariae are absent in these organisms but have madreporite. These marine starfish can reach nearly 12 in (30.4 cm) in diameter. However, the radius of one arm is nearly 6 in (15 cm).

Leather stars have slimy, smooth skin with a distribution of orange and red coloration on their body.

How cute are they?

The leather star, Dermasterias Imbricata has a shape of real twinkling star. Their coloration has been adored by many people, particularly kids around the world.

How do they communicate?

The leather sea stars communicate through touch, sense, smell, and sight. They do not have brains but they have noncentralized nervous system which provides them a sense of everything around them. The sensory cells inform them about water currents, light prey, and predators.

How big is a leather star?

The length of the leather star is 12 in (30.4 cm), which is 10 times bigger than a clownfish.

How fast can a leather star move?

The maximum speed of this sea star is around 6 in (15 cm) per minute. They are quite slow since they do not have fins like fishes.

How much does a leather star weigh?

The weight of the leather star has not been identified.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female leather stars have no specific names, separately.

What would you call a baby leather star?

A baby leather star is generally known as a larva.

What do they eat?

Leather stars are omnivores and feed on various small invertebrates and algae. Numerous prey items include sea urchins, bryozoans, hydroids, sea pens, sponges, chitons, fish eggs, sea anemones, California stichopus (sea cucumbers), and colonial tunicates. They swallow their prey whole.

Are they dangerous?

No, leather stars are not dangerous creatures.

Would they make a good pet?

Even though some people very rarely raise starfish as pets in aquariums, the leather star species would not make a good pet. The reason behind it is their size. Some people keep them in the aquarium at home or office but it is not an ideal environment for leather stars. They prefer to prey on their own and live in oceanic coast habitat, an aquarium would not be ideal for them.

Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.

Did you know...

The leather star, Dermasterias imbricata species has two stomachs to digest their prey items.

These sea animal species are known to have a strong escape response that results from unwanted stimulus or predators.

Are leather stars endangered?

The conservation status of starfish are unknown but they are always in danger from predators like morning sun star (Solaster dawsoni). Leather stars make up to 50% diet of this predator. Several starfish species have been listed as Endangered.

Why are leather stars also called Garlic Stars?

Leather stars exhibit a distinctive garlic like smell and sulfur. Therefore are also known as garlic stars.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these sand dollar facts and jellyfish facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Leather star coloring pages.

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