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Crinoidea: Feather Stars and Sea Lilies

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Stalked crinoids had their prime period several hundred million years ago. Today's crinoids include a few stalked species (the sea lilies) that are attached to hard substrates, and the free-living stalk-less feather stars. Feather stars are most abundant in shallow tropical waters, but a few species are found in the high latitudes.

The central, upwards-facing mouth of crinoids is surrounded by the five arms, each of which may bear multiple branches. Crinoids are suspension feeders and collect small particles and zooplankton out of the water column with their arms. The food gets wrapped in mucus at the inside of the arms and transported toward the mouth in the center.

Only 4 species of crinoids holothurians are known to occur in the Arctic

Page Author: Bodil Bluhm
Created: Oct 24, 2008

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