Friday 10 August 2012

Brisingid Starfish

Image: neptunecanada via Flickr
Starfish don't get more spindly, spiny and spooky than the Brisingids!

Image: hankplank via Flickr
They are 70 or so members of the order Brisingida...

living at depths of 100 to 6,000 metres (330 to 19,685 feet) all over the world. Just about everywhere, then!

Image: neptunecanada via Flickr
Despite being proper starfish, they look and live more like a Crinoid or Basket Star. They have as many as 20 arms, each one bristling with spines. These spines are covered in thousands of tiny snapping jaws for capturing prey that drifts by.

Image: NOAA via Flickr
Hanging out with a Gorgonian
As in Brittle Stars, the ossicles in the arms look like vertebrae and almost all their innards are in the tough, central disk. This helps them hold their arms up. Very important for a suspension feeder!

Image: NOAA
Hanging out among some Lophelia
Brisingids are named after the Brisingamen, Old Norse for "glowing jewellery", and the most beautiful necklace the goddess Freyja had ever seen.

Image: C. Fisher
Far too many hanging out together
I'm sorry to say that seething masses of Brisingid starfish look very different from a big pile of jewellery.


TexWisGirl said...

they're beautiful! i wonder if they get tangled together like tresses. :)

Joseph JG said...

Ha! I hope not, they'd never get free!