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Help ID this sea star please
Marianne posted a question in Community support: ask the forumI've had these up on Alamy for a while and realize that I never identified the species of sea star (or starfish to us old-time beachcombers). I did a ton of research and I mean I spent several hours searching online scientific databases as well as Alamy and SPL and other reputable sources and some of what I found must be wrong because these have been identified as a common sea star, which is apparently the same species as a Northern sea star, Asterias rubens also known as Asterias vulgarus a Forbes sea star, Asterias forbesi. The description of the Forbes sea star seems to be closest, but from the photos on sites I trust it is hard to be sure because they show them alive in the sea and not dried as this one is. They also show the same sea star with varying id's. These first two species are among the most common in the North Atlantic Ocean. Although I usually do my own beach combing, I purchased it in a store in Newport, Rhode Island, so while it's more likely to be from the Atlantic Ocean, it may not be. I was told it was a "sugar starfish" which seems to be more of a decorator's term than a scientific one, although again I've seen it applied to both common and Forbes sea stars as well as to Ochre sea star, Pisaster ochraceous, which is a species found along the west coast of the US and Canada from as far north as Alaska down to Southern California. In the photos I've seem both live and dried, this seems like the most likely culprit, but I'd love input from those with more knowledge. Help much appreciated. Thanks! I'm attaching 3 photos. Here's EFWGW4