The Mediterranean Feather Star (Antedon mediterranea) is a marine (saltwater) crinoid in the Antedonidae family of unstalked feather starfish.
The Mediterranean Feather Star can be a range of colours, such as white, yellow, orange, red, deep purple, and brown. It has a calyx – a small cup-shaped structure that is surrounded by five pairs of feathery arms. These 10 arms have 40 grasping cirri which are curl-like tufts, feathers, or fringes. The arms are like tentacles. The arms are prehensile, which means that they can grasp objects, food, and hard surfaces. In danger, the arms can roll up. The arms are fragile, but they can regenerate (re-grow) if they break off.
The arms grow to about 10 centimetres (4 inches) long.
It is found in the Mediterranean Sea. It likes to live on the bottom of the ocean. Bottom dwellers are called benthic animals. It can move around, usually by drifting with the currents, but it can also swim or ‘walk’ along the sea floor.
It is a filter feeder. It sucks in water and filters the water to capture plankton with its long, feathery arms. The plankton food is then coated in mucus and pushed into its central mouth.
The female lays eggs which hatch into free-swimming larvae. The larvae settle on the seabed and anchor themselves with temporary stalks. They metamorphose into juvenile Mediterranean Feather Stars.
Location of photographs: Aquarium de Paris-Cinéaqua, France
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM