This gorgeous sea star was first described by O.F. Müller in 1776. He gave it a species name fitting the characteristic appearance of the animal (Lat. Pulvillus= pillow, cushion). The common names in both English – Red Cushion Star- and Norwegian – Sypute – also reflect on this. Though most commonly red like the specimen pictured below, they can also be yellow-white. The white protrusions on the upper side the are gills. It lives at 10-300 meters depth, where it is often seen feeding on the coral Alcyonium digitatum. This particular specimen was collected during the course in marine faunistics this fall, in a locality just outside our field station close to Bergen.
Strangely enough, considering how common, conspicuous and wide-spread the species is, it has not been barcoded very frequently in BOLD – our specimen here will be the fifth in total to be submitted..!