Species accounts

Rosy feather star

Antedon bifida

ORDER Comatulida

FAMILY Antedonidae

TAXONOMY

Antedon bifida Pennant, 1777, western coast of Scotland.

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Feather star with 10 arms, 2-4 in (50-100 mm) long; pink, red yellow, or orange, frequently banded, usually with white pinnules.

DISTRIBUTION

Northeastern Atlantic, from Shetland Isles to Liberia and west to the Azores. Intertidal zone to 1,476.4 ft (450 m).

HABITAT

Lives in current-agitated shallow water attached to hard substrata, such as cliff faces and boulders.

BEHAVIOR

Broods offspring by bringing the arms near the body and folding the pinnules against the arm axis.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds through the vertical filtration fan posture.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

On the external wall of the genital pinnules, females brood their eggs in a mucus net until they hatch as early larvae. Spawning occurs in late spring, although mature gametes may occur for many months throughout the year.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

No common name

Oligometra serripinna

ORDER

Comatulida

FAMILY

Colobometridae

TAXONOMY

Oligometra serripinna Carpenter, 1881, Andai, New Guinea.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Feather star with 10 arms, 0.4-1.8 in (10-45 mm) long. Proximal pinnule segments longer than they are broad; yellow to orange.

DISTRIBUTION

Western Indian Ocean to the South Pacific, through the Great Barrier Reef. From at least 20-80 ft (6-25 m) in depth. (Specific distribution map not available.)

HABITAT

Usually fully exposed on unsheltered perches and attached on hard substratum.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds through the radial filtration fan posture.

BEHAVIOR

No diel pattern.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Probably reproduces twice a year, around February and June. Spawns freely on sea water and develops through lecititrophic larvae. By the spawning time, a large range of gamete sizes exists, but presumably only the larger gametes are released by repeated trickle spawning.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by the IUCN.

Biological Reproductive Species

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS Nothing known. ♦

Biological Reproductive Species

No common name

Comactinia echinoptera

ORDER Comatulida

FAMILY

Comasteridae

TAXONOMY

Comactinia echinoptera Müller, 1840, type locality unknown.

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Feather star with 10 arms, 1.9-6.5 in (30-165 mm) long, slightly broader in middle than at base, and with comb-bearing proximal pinnules. Arms most distal from mouth are less than half the length of those nearest to mouth. Has central anal cone and marginal mouth. Color is extremely variable, but arms have a reddish background color of varying shades and may present white, yellow, or brown spots. Pinnules are red to orange or yellow.

DISTRIBUTION

From southeastern Florida to Cabo Frio (and perhaps Alca-trazes Island), Brazil; through the Bahamas, Turks, and Caicos Islands, and the Antillean Arc, and Caribbean coasts of Central and South America. Intertidal to 295 ft (90 m), possibly to 590 ft (180 m).

HABITAT

Areas of current in shallow water, attached to hard substratum.

BEHAVIOR

Occurs in high densities; nocturnal; extends the longest arms above the substratum, usually with central mass hidden, while attached in crevices.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds through the vertical filtration fan posture.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY Nothing is known.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

Orange sea lily

Nemaster rubiginosa

ORDER Comatulida

FAMILY

Comasteridae

TAXONOMY

Nemaster rubiginosa Portales, 1869, off Orange Key, Bahama Bank and off Tortugas.

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Feather star with 20 (up to 35) arms 3.9-7.9 in (100-200 mm) long, bright orange with a black stripe running along dorsal side. Mouth and anal cone about equal distance from center of tegmen.

DISTRIBUTION

Western Gulf of Mexico, southeastern Florida, Bahamas, Barbados; Caribbean coast of Central and South America from Belize to Bahia, Brazil. At 3.3-1,100 ft (1-334 m) deep.

HABITAT

Lives in shallow water, frequently sheltered from current, attached on hard substratum, favors the fore-edges of reef escarpments.

BEHAVIOR

Central mass is hidden while attached to undersurfaces of hard substratum. Only arms are visible by day, but entire body may be exposed at night.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds through the radial feeding posture.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Produces gametes throughout the reproductive cycle (usually spring). By spawning time, a complete range of gamete development stages exists, from recently produced oocytes to fully mature ova.

Reproduction Biology

CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

No common name

Tropiometra carinata

ORDER Comatulida

FAMILY Tropiometridae

TAXONOMY

Tropiometra carianta Lamarck, 1816, Mauritius.

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

BEHAVIOR

Specimens usually found in clumps, mainly of small individuals that tend to live near larger ones. Individuals may or may not have the central mass hidden while attached on lateral surfaces or in crevices or nooks (where more frequently found). No diel pattern of emergence.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds through the vertical filtration fan posture.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Free spawning in sea water and have lecititrophic larvae. Differs from other species because it spawns immature ova.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Feather star with 10 arms, 3.9-7.1 in (100-180 mm) long. Arms and pinnules usually dark brown with yellow bands, although individuals may be yellow, yellow with brown bands, or orange.

DISTRIBUTION

Antillean Arc from Guadeloupe south; South America from Cartagena, Colombia, through Trinidad Tobago, to Santa Catarina, Brazil. Santa Helena. East Africa from Cape of Good Hope to Northern Somalia; Madagascar Islands from Comoros to the Seychelles, Mascarene Islands, and Cargados Carajos Shoals. Intertidal fringe to 276 ft (84 m).

HABITAT

Lives on current agitated shallow water, attached to hard substratum.

Great West Indian sea lily

Cenocrinus asterius

ORDER

Isocrinida

FAMILY Isocrinidae

TAXONOMY

Cenocrinus asterius Linnaeus, 1775.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Sea lily with up to 50 arms and a stalk, to 3.3 ft (1 m) long.

DISTRIBUTION

Northwest Providence Channel; Antillean Arc from Saba to Barbados, including Jamaica. At 600-1,920 ft (183-585 m) deep.

HABITAT

Groups of cirri along a curved stalk anchor individuals on hard substratum.

BEHAVIOR

Individual arms wave rapidly up and down to prevent the settlement of other organisms or undesired particles on the crown. Can also move from place to place by crawling over substratum using their arms. Relocation may be stimulated by the presence of other individuals or other organisms as possible predators.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds through the parabolic filtration fan posture.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nothing is known.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

West Atlantic stalked crinoid

Endoxocrinus parrae

ORDER Isocrinida

FAMILY Isocrinidae

TAXONOMY

Endoxocrinus parrae Gervais, 1835, off Cuba.

OTHER COMMON NAMES None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Sea lily similar to Cenocrinus asterius, but with a shorter stalk and a denser filtration fan. The arm-branching pattern is also different because its arms divide until there are a total of eight arms.

DISTRIBUTION

Off Cape Canaveral; Bahama Island; Antillean Arc; Yucatán Channel; off Sao Luiz, northeast Brazil. At 505-3,186 ft (154 to 971 m) deep, although some found in shallow water.

HABITAT

Groups of cirri along a curved stalk anchor the lily on hard substratum.

BEHAVIOR

Individual arms wave rapidly up and down to prevent the settlement of other organisms or undesired particles on the crown. Can also move from place to place by crawling over substratum using their arms. Relocation may be stimulated by the presence of other individuals or other organisms as possible predators.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Feeds through the parabolic filtration fan posture.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nothing is known.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

Resources Books

Ausich, William I. "Origin of Crinoids." In Echinoderm Research 1998, edited by Candia Carnevali and F. Bonasoro. Rotterdam: Balkema, 1999.

Hess, Hans, William I. Ausich, Carlton E. Brett, and Michel J. Simms, eds. Fossil Crinoids. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Littlewood, D. Tim J., Andrew B. Smith, K. A. Clough, and Roland H. Emson. "Five Classes of Echinoderm and One School of Thought." In Echinoderms: San Francisco, edited by R. Mooi and M. Telford. Rotterdam: Balkema, 1998.

Simms, Mike J. "The Phylogeny of Post-Palaeozoic Crinoids." In Echinoderm Phylogeny and Evolutionary Biology, edited by C. R. C. Paul and A. B. Smith. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988.

Periodicals

Ameziane, Nadia, and Michel Roux. "Biodiversity and Historical Biogeography of Stalked Crinoids (Echinodermata) in the Deep Sea." Biodiversity and Conservation 6 (1997): 1557-1570.

Ausich, William I. "Early Phylogeny and Subclass Division of the Crinoidea (Phylum Echinodermata)." Journal of Paleontology 72 (1998): 499-510.

Ausich, William I., and Thomas W. Kammer. "The Study of Crinoids During the 20th Century and the Challenges of the 21st Century." Journal of Paleontology 75 (2001): 1161-1173.

Baumiller, Tomasz K., Michael LaBarbera, and Jeremy D. Woodley. "Ecology and Functional Morphology of the Isocrinid Cenocrinus asterius (Linnaeus) (Echinodermata: Crinoidea): In Situ and Laboratory Experiments and Observations." Bulletin of Marine Science 48 (1991): 731-748.

Fabricius, Katharina E. "Spatial Patterns in Shallow-Water Crinoid Communities on the Central Great Barrier Reef."

Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 45 (1994): 1225-1236.

Guensburg, Thomas E., and James Sprinkle. "Earliest

Crinoids: New Evidence for the Origin of the Dominant Paleozoic Echinoderms." Geology 29 (2001): 131-134.

Holland, Nicholas D., J. Rudi Strickler, and A. B. Leonard. "Particle Interception, Transport and Rejection by the

Resources

Feather Star Oligometra serripina (Echinodermata: Crinoidea), Studied by Frame Analysis of Videotapes." Marine Biology 93 (1986): 111-126.

Lahaye, M. C., and Michel Jangoux. "Functional Morphology of the Podia and Ambulacral Grooves of the Comatulid Crinoid Antedon bifida (Echinodermata)." Marine Biology 86 (1985): 307-318.

MacCord, Fabio S., and Luiz F. Duarte, L. "Dispersion in Populations of Tropiometra carinata (Crinoidea: Comatulida) in the Sâo Sebastiao Channel, Sao Paulo State, Brazil." Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science 54 (2002): 219-225.

Macurda, Jr., Donald B., and David L Meyer. "Feeding Posture of Modern Stalked Crinoids." Nature 247 (1974): 394-396.

McClintock, James B., Bill J. Baker, Tomasz K. Baumiller, and Charles G. Messing. "Lack of Chemical Defense in Two Species of Stalked Crinoids: Support for the Predation Hypothesis for Mesozoic Bathymetric Restriction." Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 232 (1999): 1-7.

McEdward, Larry R., and Benjamin G. Miner. "Larval and Life-Cycle Pattern in Echinoderms." Canadian Journal of Zoology 79 (2001): 1125-1170.

Messing, Charles G., M. Christine RoseSmyth, Stuart R. Mailer, and John E. Miller. "Relocation Movement in a Stalked Crinoid (Echinodermata)." Bulletin of Marine Science 42 (1988): 480-487.

Meyer, David L. "Distribution and Living Habits of

Comatulid Crinoids Near Discovery Bay, Jamaica." Bulletin of Marine Science 23 (1973): 244-259.

-. "Feeding Behavior and Ecology of Shallow-Water

Unstalked Crinoids (Echinodermata) in the Caribbean Sea." Marine Biology 22 (1973): 105-129.

Meyer, David L., Charles G. Messing, and Donald B.

Macurda, Jr. "Zoogeography of Tropical Western Atlantic Crinoidea (Echinodermata)." Bulletin of Marine Science 28 (1978): 412-441.

Nichols, David. "Evidence for a Sacrificial Response to Predation in the Reproductive Strategy of the Comatulid Crinoid Antedon bifida from the English Channel." Oceanologica Acta 19 (1996): 237-240.

-. "Reproductive Seasonality in the Comatulid Crinoid Antedon bifida (Pennant) from the English Channel." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 343

Vail, Lyle. "Diel Patterns of Emergence of Crinoids (Echinodermata) from Within a Reef at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia." Marine Biology 93 (1987): 551-560.

-. "Reproduction in Five Species of Crinoids at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef." Marine Biology 95 (1987): 431-446.

-. "Arm Growth and Regeneration in Oligometra serripina

(Carpenter) (Echinodermata: Crinoidea) at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef." Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 130 (1989): 189-204.

Young, Craig M., and Roland H. Emson. "Rapid Arm Movements in Stalked Crinoids." Biological Bulletin 188

Fabio Sa MacCord, MSc

Phylum Echinodermata Class Asteroidea Number of families 35

Thumbnail description

Conspicuous and successful bottom-dwelling animals that can survive without food for months and feed on almost every type of marine organism encountered on the seabed; they range in size from 0.4 in (1 cm) in diameter to more than 3 ft (91 cm) across and inhabit virtually every latitude and ocean depths

Photo: Chocolate-chip sea star (Protoreaster no-dosus). (©Shedd Aquarium. Photo by Patrice Ceisel. Reproduced by permission.)

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