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Updated 4/25/2020

Phylum Echinodermata

Class Crinoidea

Feather Stars or Crinoids

Crinoids are attractive echinoderms with long arms used to capture bits of organic matter from the current.  They are common in the Indo-Pacific region but are restricted to very deep water in the Hawaiian Islands.  Commensal fishes and invertebrates may be found within the delicate arms.  Avoid touching crinoids with gloves as tiny hooks on the arms stick to fabric like velcro resulting in damage to the animal, namely broken arms.



Various crinoid species

Wakatobi, Indonesia



Kerama, Okinawa, Japan


Wetar, Indonesia



Vava'u, Tonga

Vava'u, Tonga

Class Ophiuroidea

Basket Stars

Although similar at first glance to crinoids, basket stars are more closely related to brittle stars.  They extend their arms at night to feed in the current and curl into a tight ball and hide in crevices during the day.  They are also very sensitive to dive lights.


Astroboa nuda

Wakatobi, Indonesia, 4 feet


Occasional on reefs exposed to current at night.  Attains extended width of at least 3 feet.  Color light or dark brown.  Rapidly curls up and retreats from bright light.  Indo-Pacific.