The Feather Star is scientifically known as Himerometra robustipinna. It’s a member of the crinoid family, named Himerometridae.
This starfish was first discovered and named by Philip Herbert Carpenter back in 1881.
What Does the Feather Star Look Like?
The Feather Star is quite a sight. Imagine a sea creature as big as a large pizza, about 14 to 16 inches in diameter.
The body is shaped like a cup, and from the center, it has many arms stretching out, usually around 45. These arms are about 8 inches long.
Imagine a cup with many long, thin straws sticking out from the center. That’s sort of what the Feather Star looks like. The mouth and the exit for waste are both on the top side of the body.
Feather Star’s arms are usually reddish or maroon, but sometimes they can be yellow or pale brown with maroon side parts, called pinnules.
How Does the Feather Star Eat?
The Feather Star eats by catching food with a sticky substance on its arms. This food is usually tiny plants and animals from the sea and bits of dead plants and animals.
The Feather Star can hold onto corals with short parts called cirri, kind of like how a bird can hold onto a branch. But it can also swim freely in the water.
Where Do Feather Stars Live?
Feather Stars live in the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean. You can find them from the Bay of Bengal up to the China Sea.
They also live near the Great Barrier Reef, Indonesia, the Philippines, and South Japan.
What Kind of Environment Do Feather Stars Need?
Feather Stars like places with coral reefs, strong currents, and clear water. They also need lots of plankton to eat.
The Feather Stars usually live at a depth between 0 and 57 meters underwater.
What Are the Habits and Associates of The Feather Star?
The Feather Star likes to hang out on hard corals and substrates, up to 40 meters deep. It filters the water to eat tiny bits of plankton.
The Feather Star has some buddies too. It’s usually seen hanging out with shrimp and lobsters.
How Do Feather Stars Reproduce?
Feather Stars can be male or female. When it’s time to have babies, the walls of the side parts, or pinnules, break open.
The eggs and sperm are let loose into the sea. After some time, the babies become free-swimming larvae.
These babies swim with the plankton for a few weeks. Then they settle down and start to grow into a form with a stalk. When they are grown up, they break the stalk and become free-living adults.