Prey capture by Pisaster brevispinus (Asteroidea: Echinodermata) on soft substrate
- Cite this article as:
- Van Veldhuizen, H.D. & Phillips, D.W. Mar. Biol. (1978) 48: 89. doi:10.1007/BF00390534
Observations on the subtidal seastar Pisaster brevispinus (Stimpson) indicate that this predator can extend the central tube feet into sand-mud substrate for a distance roughly equal to the radius of the seastar. Field and laboratory evidence demonstrates the use of the elongated tube feet by the asteroid for the capture of burrowed prey items. A relationship between predator size and the size of juveniles of the deep-burrowing clam Tresus nuttallii taken as prey is a product of the ability of larger seastars to extend the tube feet further into the substrate and capture deeper prey. The role of P. brevispinus as an important subtidal predator along the Pacific Coast of North America is discussed.