Florometra serratissima (A.H. Clark, 1907)

Common name(s): Feather star

Synonyms:  Heliometra serratissima, Antedon serratissima, Florometra perplexa, Antedon perplexa Florometra serratissima
Phylum Echinodermata 
Subphylum Pelmetazoa 
Class Crinoidea 
Subclass Articulata 
Order Comatulida 
Suborder Macrophreata 
Family Antedonidae 
Florometra serratissima at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
(Photo by:  Dave Cowles, August 2010)

Description:  Feather stars are echinoderms structured somewhat like an upside-down brittle star.  The 5 arms often fork near the base to form a total of 10 or more arm branches which are often around 10 cm long.  Jointed appendages called pinnules branch from the side of the arms, giving the featherlike appearance.  The upper (oral) surface of the arms has an ambulacral groove, and both the mouth and the anus are on the upper side of the central disk.  In feather stars (Order Comatulida), the aboral side of the central disk has clawlike cirri which function somewhat like bird feet to grasp the substrate.  Tan to reddish tan.  Armspread to 25 cm.

How to Distinguish from Similar Species:  This is the only feather star likely to be encountered in our region.

Geographical Range: Northern Alaska to Mexico or farther south to off South America.

Depth Range: 10-1252 m.  This species is mostly found in quite deep water but can be found as shallow as 10 m in some restricted localities such as some places in southern British Columbia.

Habitat:  Soft and hard bottoms

Biology/Natural History:  Feather stars are primarily suspension feeders.  They may walk around using the cirri or swim if dislodged using the arms.  Feather stars are deepliving and rarely seen in the Pacific Northwest.  Juveniles are stalked like the stalked crinoids (sea lilies).



Dichotomous Keys:
  Carlton, 2007
  Kozloff, 1987, 1996

General References:
  Gotshall, 1994
  Lamb and Hanby, 2005
  Lambert and Austin, 2007

Scientific Articles:

Web sites:

General Notes and Observations:  Locations, abundances, unusual behaviors:

Authors and Editors of Page:
Dave Cowles (2010):  Created original page
CSS coding for page developed by Jonathan Cowles (2007)

Rosario Invertebrates web site provided courtesy of Walla Walla University