The appropriately but unimaginatively named eleven-armed sea star is New Zealand and Australia’s largest Sea Star. They can have anywhere from seven to fourteen arms, but like the one in this photograph, eleven arms is most common. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a straight forward easy name and much prefer the name eleven-armed to the scientific Coscinasterias Calamaria. However, many sea stars have beautiful names like the Morning Sun Star or the Royal Star so I was somewhat disappointed with the uninspired name.
I have seen many sea stars with the typical five points in the Philippines, but never one with so many arms. When I came across this one near sunset on the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, I didn’t know that it was the largest species of sea star in New Zealand. I was very excited to see this unusual creature in its natural habitat. He was being pounded by the crashing waves and I had to snap the photos between swells. He didn’t seem to be bothered at all by the churning water.