Feather Stars – Species of the Reef

The Beautiful Feather Star


Feather Stars (Scientific Family: Crinoids) are one of the most peaceful and beautiful starfish. They are a common and fantastic sight on the Great Barrier Reef. There are over 1800 species of starfish globally living in the shallowest waters down to 6000 meters (20000ft) deep. Feather stars make up only just over 500 species of the entire starfish family.

The feather starfish use this arms to filter the food from the passing currents and then pass it down to there mouth. Very different from the traditional starfish that feeds from the bottom and moves along the ground to feed. The feather star has “feet” called cirri that is uses to append itself to fan coral, or other perches where it can feed from a nice passing current.

They also have many more then the traditional 5 arms associated with a starfish. The amount of arms depend on the species and health of the starfish, most species have around 20 arms while some can have over 200. These arms are covered with a sticky substance which it uses to help catch the passing food and pass it down the stars mouth. It is important not to handle these stars as you can severely disrupt their feeding if they are man-handled.

What eats these starfish, well most fish leave them alone. Maybe they are too peaceful, beautiful or graceful to eat?

They breed by releasing sperm and eggs into the surrounding water. The eggs hatch to produce a larva that after a few days float down to the ocean floor or reef where it undergoes a metamorphosis to the adult form.


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Guest Testimonials


  1. this website is awsome. I never knew I would learn so much about an animal that wasn’t a mammal and be able to study it so closely. The facts are interesting enough that a don’t get bored and I applod the maker of this site for their enthusiasm and creativity.

    Comment by Angelica A. — May 18, 2010 @ 2:35 am

  2. Thanks, I am using this for my project:)

    Comment by Alexis S — September 16, 2010 @ 4:02 am

  3. Excellent work! I am doing a project on feather stars, and I have one more point I can’t seem to cover. What is the purpose of a Feather Star?

    Comment by Katie Jones — November 30, 2011 @ 10:40 am

  4. I love seeing this information being shared. It’s like learning about a whole different planet.

    Comment by Pamela — March 17, 2012 @ 9:13 am

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