Feather stars are sometimes incorrectly called unstalked crinoids. Larvae do develop a stalk after they settle out of the plankton, but they shed it when still very small. A single remaining uppermost stalk segment, the centrodorsal, bears hook-like cirri for clinging to the seafloor or other invertebrates, such as corals and sponges. The long prehensile cirri of this feather star are characteristic of family Thalassometridae, and this is also likely a new species.

Feather stars are sometimes incorrectly called unstalked crinoids. Larvae do develop a stalk after they settle out of the plankton, but they shed it when still very small. A single remaining uppermost stalk segment, the centrodorsal, bears hook-like cirri for clinging to the seafloor or other invertebrates, such as corals and sponges. The long prehensile cirri of this feather star are characteristic of family Thalassometridae, and this is also likely a new species. Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Gulf of Mexico 2017.

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December 7: Crinoids: Deep-sea Lily-like Animals

Gulf of Mexico 2017

NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer