National marine sanctuary offices and visitor centers closed to the public; waters remain open

NOAA's national marine sanctuary offices and visitor centers are closed to the public while the waters remain open for responsible use in accordance with CDC guidance and local regulations. More information on the response from NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries can be found on


Orange-Footed Sea Cucumber  

Orange-Footed Sea Cucumber (Cucumaria frondosa) - The body is cucumber shaped, with thick, leathery skin and 5 longitudinal, radial rows of tube feet. On one end it has ten branching, tree-like retractable tentacles that surround the mouth. Body color & tentacles - reddish brown, or pink to whitish. Tube feet - brown to orange. Length to 19", width 5". Found on rocks and other hard surfaces, intertidally to 1200'.

Atlantic Purple Sea Urchin  

Atlantic Purple Sea Urchin (Arbacia punctulata) - Found from Cape Cod and south, this urchin has thick purple colored spines that cover the back. Color - purple to reddish brown. Size to 2". Found on rock, or shell bottoms from low tide mark to 700'. Frequently observed in tide pools, rock crevices and seaweed beds.

Green Sea Urchin  

Green Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus
- This urchin feeds on algae and- can reduce kelp into stubs in a short time. The mostly widely distributed urchin in our region and easy to identify. Body is covered with numerous, shape green spines that can easily puncture a wet, or drysuit. Color of spines - green, body greenish brown.

Common Sand Dollar  

Common Sand Dollar (Echinarachnius parma) - This flat circular dollar has a very thin body, with a 5 pointed, petal-like pattern of tiny holes on its' upper surface, Color - reddish purple and brownish. Size 3 1/8" in diameter. Dead sand dollars appear as white skeletons. Found on sandy bottoms, from low tide line to 1 mile deep.

Smooth, or Purple Sunstar  

Smooth, or Purple Sunstar (Solaster endeca) - This large sea star usually has 9-10 arms, but can have 7-14 arms. The upper surface appears smooth and is covered with very short spines. Color;reddish, pink, purple, or deep violet red with yellow margins. Radius of 8". Found on rocky bottoms, subtidally to 900'.

Spiny Sunstar  

Spiny Sunstar (Crossaster papposus) - This star usually has from 10-12 arms, but can have from 8-14. Surface covered with bristles and short obvious spines, which is how it gets its' name. Color; red with white or red concentric bands. Radius, 7". Found on rock bottoms, subtidally to 1000'.

Blood Sea Star  

Blood Sea Star (Henricia sanguionolenta) - This colorful little star has a small disc and 5 slender, cylindrical, pointed- arms of equal length. Surface has small, equal-sized spines that form a fine covering. Color is variable; red, orange, yellow, white, purple, and mottled. Radius, 4". Found on rocky bottom, from low tide line to 7920'.

Forbes Sea Star

Forbes Sea Star (Asterias forbesii) - This common species has 5 arms, but can have 4-7 arms. These are stout and cylindrical and blunt at the tips. The surface is rough with spines od various sizes. Color is variable; tones of brown, orange, red, purple and green. Radius, 5". Found intertidally on rocky, sandy, and gravelly bottoms to 150'.

Northern Sea Star  

Northern Sea Star (Asterias vulgaris) - This common sea start has 5 flattened arms that taper to a narrow tip. Surface has many short, blunt spines. Usually a row of spines that run down the middle of each arm. Color is variable; red, purple, orange, brown and green. Radius, 8". Found intertidally on same habitat as Forbes star, but down to 2000'.

Winged Sea Star  

Winged Sea Star (Pteraster militaris) - This star has a large disk, thick body and blunt arms with 5 arms. Very easy to identify, as it looks just like a star. Color; yellowish, or reddish. Radius, 2 ¾". Found on rocky bottoms, subtidally to 3600'.

Northern Basket Star  

Northern Basket Star (Gorgonocephalus arcticus) - The beautiful star looks like an underwater basket with its' arms fully extended. Nocturnal, usually seen during night dives, or in dark areas. Stout cylindrical arms that originate from a central disk. 5 arms expanding into a basket shape. Color; brown to yellowish brown. Disk diameter, 4", arm length, 14". Found on rocky bottoms, from 18' to 4831'.

Daisy Brittle Star  

Daisy Brittle Star (Ophiopholis aculeata) - The scalloped disk of this brittle star is covered with small spines. 5 thin arms taper off to sharp points. Disk size ¾", arm length, 3 ½". Color variable; combinations of: yellow, orange, red, black, green, tan, gray and brown. Found under rocks, in kelp holdfasts and in crevices, intertidally to 5000'.


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