Learn About Feather Stars

Shallow-water crinoids are abundant in tropical regions, but on the west coast only one species of feather star, Florometra serratissima, is common. In British Columbia and parts of northern Washington it can be found in waters less than 30m in depth, but in Oregon and California it occurs much deeper. A few other species of sea lilies live along the coast but at great depth, and these are poorly known.

NOTE feather stars or sea lilies? Most shallow-water crinoids are comatulids, and thus are stalkless, have prehensile cirri, can crawl or swim, have arms and pinnules that resemble feathers, and are termed feather stars. In contrast, most deep-water species are stalked and non-motile, and are termed sea lilies. The ancient Greeks originally referred to them as sea lilies but, interestingly, the species they would have been most familiar with is actually a shallow-water feather star, or comatulid, rather than a member of one of the deep water-inhabiting orders

© 2010 Thomas Carefoot
snail's map highlighting feather star

To learn about west-coast FEATHER STARS: select a topic from the ECHINODERMATA >feather star menu at the top of the page

OR: play the ANIMATION of the snail meeting the FEATHER STAR (below Left)

OR, if you want to see other animations: follow the snail on its ODYSSEY by CLICKING on any X-marked invertebrate on the map

Phylum Echinodermata (lit. “spiny skin” G.) including sea lilies, sea stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and brittle stars

Class Crinoidea (lit. “like a lily in shape” G. ) including feather stars and sea lilies

Order Comatulida (lit. “hair that is neatly curled” L.) including feather stars, represented in northern Washington and British Columbia by a single species Florometra serratissima