Bennett's Feather Star

Oxycomanthus bennetti

Bennett's Feather Star occurs in a variety of colours, from deep green to yellow to brown. Feather stars (crinoid echinoderms) are suspension feeds, and can be seen perched on corals, sponges, sea fans and sea whips actively waving their feathery arms in the strong current to trap and eat the abundant plankton in sea water. Feather stars may have as few as 5 or as many as 200 arms which catch and then carry the food to the mouth, situated on the upper surface at the base of the arms. Although feather stars sit exposed in open water they are largely ignored by fish due to their toxic skin and with their bright colours warning predators of their toxicity.

This species extends across the tropics, from Queensland to Western Australia.

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