Body with a large disc and 9-10 (rarely 7-13) long and tapering arms; up to 400 mm in diameter; R/r: 2.5-3; coloured yellowish-red or violet.
The upper surface is crowded with small paxillae with short spines. The marginal paxillae (not very conspicuous) are arranged in a double row in which the upper ones are smaller than the lower ones.
The adambulacral plates have 2-3 small furrow spines (rarely 4) which are almost concealed in the furrow. There are transverse series of 6-8 short spines on the outer surface of the adambulacrals.
This species is found on muddy gravel with boulders or silty rock substrates, from shallow water down to depths of 450 m. In sheltered or semi-exposed conditions.
Northern part of the North Sea. North around the British Isles, more common along the coasts of Scotland and Norway. Absent from the south coast of England, but present in Ireland.