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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Counting stars

I've been thinking about juvenile sea stars lately, so here's a picture from the archives (although not too long ago it's from January 2014).

These are juvenile Ochre Sea Stars (Pisaster ochraceus).  They were ~6 months old when this picture was taken.  It's fun to see their colors starting to appear (orange, brown, purple...).  How many individual sea stars can you find in the picture below?  [You can click on the image for a slightly larger version.]

(Warning: My answer is below the picture.)

The number of juvenile Ochre Sea Stars present along the coast is highly variable year to year.

Okay, are you ready to compare counts?

I found 13 individuals in the picture above...although one is tough to see because only part of an arm is visible.  Here they are:

We've been following this cohort of juveniles for two years, and it's been fascinating to watch them grow up.  More about that in another post!

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