Saturday, September 8, 2018

Feather or Fish?

Watch this video for an amazing treat.

The animal in this video is a fish know as the feather star.  According to Tomasz K. Baumiller, a paleontologist from the University of Michigan, feather stars have been around for about 200 million years.  Now that's a very old fish.

Feather stars are very diverse.

  • Feather stars can attach themselves to the bottom of the ocean or let go to move about.
  • Some feather stars can swim, while others can only crawl along the substrate. 
  • Feathers stars can be a variety of colors from vibrant red to spectacular orange to stupendous yellow.
  • Some feather stars have as few as 5 arms while others have as many as 200.  And some have arms as long as a foot each.

How Do Feather Stars Eat?

Feather stars are filter feeders.  The fish remains stationary and lets the ocean currents do the work.  As the currents move around the animal, small tube feet flick plankton* into a groove that runs along each arm.  Once in the groove, microscopic hairs move the plankton to the animal's mouth located in the center of its arms. 

*Plankton are microscopic plants and animals that float in the ocean.

Where Do Feather Stars Live?

Some live around shallow coral reefs and others live at great depths in the ocean trenches.

Are They Really Animals?

Feather stars are simple animals with both a digestive and a nervous system.  Their closest relatives are spiny skinned animals like the sea star, sea cucumber, brittle stars, and sea urchins.

Feather stars are amazing indeed!  

Research Sources:

1.  "Crinoids: Deep-sea Lily-like Animals" by Charles Messing.  Gulf of Mexico 2017.  NOAA Ocean Exploration and Research.  Web.  05 Sept. 2018 

2. "Mesmerizing Video Shows Swimming Feather Star."  National Geographic.  Web.  05 Sept. 2018.  

Image Credits:

1.  Floating Feather Star by samkerridge is licensed under CCO Creative Commons.

No comments:

Post a Comment