Sunday, 29 January 2012
A family walk this morning between Druridge and East Chevington was intended to see if there were a few birds about but heavy rain meant little birdwatching this morning. These days I'm always looking down to the ground and I had noticed a rough sea and the tideline strewn with seaweed and razorshells. My wife and daughter had noticed a dead starfish which turned out to be a Common Sunstar (Crossaster papposus), the first time I have seen a one. A quick google when I got back and the species is common around our shores particularly in the North west. It is a Northern species, circumpolar and is found from the Arctic to the English channel. Smaller ones are sometimes found in rock pools and are commonly seen by divers. They are omnivorous and feed on their own kind and swallow them whole and are also scavengers. This was about 34cm across which is the maximum size they grow to, they usually have 8-10 legs, rarely 10-13 but the one above clearly has 14 legs. It looks a bit like a ships wheel but reminds me of the cover of Lal and Mike Waterson's album 'Bright Phoebus.'