Home > Invertebrates > Crinoids

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.

 

INDO-PACIFIC

Various crinoid species

Wakatobi, Indonesia

 

 

Kerama, Okinawa, Japan

 


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.

INDO-PACIFIC

Astroboa nuda

Wakatobi, Indonesia, 4 feet

BASKET STAR

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.