, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 214–220 | Cite as

Behavioral responses of seven species of asteroids to the asteroid predator, Solaster dawsoni (responses of asteroids to the predator Solaster dawsoni)

  • H. D. Van Veldhuizen
  • V. J. Oakes


Seven asteroid species common to the northern California coast were studied for their defensive responses to the predator Solaster dawsoni. The presence or absence of an escape response was used to predict whether or not these species were susceptible to predation from Solaster. Strong escape responses were displayed by Patiria miniata, Henricia leviuscula, Leptasterias hexactis, Pycnopodia helianthoides, and small Pisaster ochraceus. Subsequent capture and consumption of Patiria, Henricia, Leptasterias and small P. ochraceus were observed. Solaster attacked all Pisaster spp. tested, but Pisaster brevispinus and larger P. ochraceus protected themselves from predation by utilizing their pedicellariae against Solaster whenever contact occurred. Dermasterias imbricata appeared to be immune to predation by Solaster. Contact between these two asteroids failed to elicit a defensive response in the former or an attack by the latter asteroid.


Behavioral Response Escape Response Defensive Response California Coast Subsequent Capture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Barker MF (1979) Breeding and recruitment in a population of the New Zealand starfish Stichaster australis (Verrill). J exp mar Biol Ecol 41:195–211Google Scholar
  2. Birkeland C (1974) Interactions between a sea pen and seven of its predators. Ecol Monogr 44:211–232Google Scholar
  3. Birkeland C, Chia FS, Strathmann RS (1971) Development, substrate selection, delay of metamorphosis and growth in the seastar Mediaster aequalis. Biol Bull 141:99–108Google Scholar
  4. Bullock TH (1953) Predator recognition and escape responses of some intertidal gastropods in presence of starfish. Behaviour 5:130–140Google Scholar
  5. Christensen AM (1970) Feeding biology of the seastar Astropecten irregularis Pennant. Ophelia 8:1–134Google Scholar
  6. Dayton PK (1971) Competition, disturbance, and community organization: The provision and subsequent utilization of space in a rocky intertidal community. Ecol Monogr 41:351–389Google Scholar
  7. Dayton PK, Robilliard GA, Paine RT, Dayton LB (1974) Biological accommodation in the benthic community at McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. Ecol Monogr 44:105–128Google Scholar
  8. Endean R (1973) Population explosions of Acanthaster planci and associated destruction of hermatypic corals in the Indo-West Pacific region. In: O.A. Jones and R. Endean (eds) Biology and Geology of Coral Reefs, Vol. II. Academic Press, New York p 389–438Google Scholar
  9. Feder HM (1963) Gastropod defensive responses and their effectiveness in reducing predation by starfishes. Ecol 44:505–512Google Scholar
  10. Feder HM (1970) Growth and predation by the ochre sea star, Pisaster ochraceus (Brandt), in Monterey Bay, California. Ophelia 8:161–185Google Scholar
  11. Feder HM, Christensen AM (1966) Aspects of asteroid biology. In: R.A. Boolootian (ed), Physiology of Echinodermata. Interscience, New York p 87–127Google Scholar
  12. Hancock DA (1958) Notes on starfish on an Essex oyster bed. J Mar Biol Ass UK 37:565–589Google Scholar
  13. Landenberger DE (1969) The effects of exposure to air on Pacific starfish and its relationship to distribution. Physiol Zool 42:220–230Google Scholar
  14. Loosanoff VL (1964) Variations in time and intensity of setting of the starfish, Asterias forbesi, in Long Island Sound during a twentyfive year period. Biol Bull 126:423–439Google Scholar
  15. Mauzey KP, Birkeland C, Dayton PK (1968) Feeding behavior of asteroids and escape responses of their prey in the Puget Sound region. Ecol 49:603–619Google Scholar
  16. Mayo P, Mackie AM (1976) Studies of avoidance reactions in several species of predatory British seastars (Echinodermata: Asteroidea). Mar Biol 38:41–49Google Scholar
  17. Menge BA (1972) Competition for food between two intertidal starfish species and its effect on body size and feeding. Ecol 53:635–644Google Scholar
  18. Moitoza DJ, Phillips DW (1979) Prey defense, predator preference, and nonrandom diet: The interactions between Pycnopodia helianthoides and two species of sea urchins. Mar Biol 53:299–304Google Scholar
  19. Ormond RFG, Campbell AC (1974) Formation and breakdown of Acanthaster planci (L.) aggregations in the Red Sea. Proc 2nd Int Symp on Coral Reefs 595–619Google Scholar
  20. Paine RT (1966) Food web complexity and species diversity. Am Nat 100:65–75Google Scholar
  21. Phillips DW (1977) Avoidance and escape responses of the gastropod mollusc Olivella biplicata (Sowerby) to predatory asteroids. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 28:77–86Google Scholar
  22. Van Veldhuizen HD (1978) Feeding biology of subtidal Pisaster brevispinus on soft substrate in Bodega Harbor, California. Ph D dissertation Univ Calif Davis pp 197Google Scholar
  23. Ward JA (1965) An investigation on the swimming reaction of the anemone, Stomphia coccinea: II. Histological location of a reacting substance in the asteroid Dermasterias imbricata. J exp Zool 158:365–372Google Scholar
  24. Wobber DR (1975) Agonism in asteroids. Biol Bull 148:483–496Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. D. Van Veldhuizen
    • 1
    • 2
  • V. J. Oakes
    • 1
  1. 1.The Bodega Marine LaboratoryUniversity of CaliforniaBodega Bay
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

Personalised recommendations