Sea Stars of Marina Del Rey & Río Ballona:
Between Pacific Tides of Southern California,
Los Angeles County & Orange County

Edited, Compiled and Adapted
Robert Jan van de Hoek, President & Marine Ecologist
Ballona Institute
Los Angeles (Playa del Rey), California 90293

©December 5, 2017

          There are reported to be 6 kinds of littoral Sea Stars in Los Angeles County and southern California. In this preliminary report, I share information of only the most common sea star, known as the Bat Star. The information of 1969 & 1976 comes from Doc Allen, sadly not with us!
         Phylum Echinodermata [sea stars, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, brittle stars, sand dollars]
         Genus Patiria Gray, 1840
[Species 525.] Patiria miniata (Brandt, 1835)

1969: The BAT STAR (figure 325) ranges from Alaska to Mexico and it is reported by Hopkins and Crozier as the most ubiquitous sea star in Southern California. The Bat Star is usually orange or red in color, and the arms have a webbed appearance. This species normally occurs in protected rocky habitats, and it is common at Dana Point, Cabrillo Beach, Corona Del Mar, and Marina del Rey.

1976: The bat star (figure 435) ranges from Alaska to Mexico and it is one of the most common species in Southern California. The body is variable in color and species are unicolorous yellow, orange, red and purple, or pale and mottled with these colors. The arms are short and angular and the aboral surface is scaly. The bat star is almost always accompanied by a small commensal polychaete worm, Ophiodromus pugettensis, which lives in the ambulacral grooves of its host. Specimens have been observed in protected bays on rocks and wharf pilings. The species is common at Alamitos Bay, Dana Point, Cabrillo Beach, Corona Del Mar, and Marina del Rey.

2017: The Bat Star was observed by this editor, Robert van de Hoek, during successive low tides of December 2, 3, 4, 2017, as well as one high tide on December 5, 2017, in Marina Del Rey. Both locations are relatively close to the entrance of the Marina, where seawater has less sediment. At high tide on December 5, I noticed that the Bat Star had moved upward about 9 feet on the seawall from where I saw the same Bat Star from December 2 to 4, 2017, at low tide at Dock #52 on Fiji Way. I also saw 5 Bat Stars submerged about foot underwater at low tide at a Full Moon day of December 4, 2017 near the U.S. Coast Guard Station, attached to large boulders with abundant marine algae. Lastly, I observed no worms in the oral grooves and all the Bat Stars were bright red.