feather star

Paul Naylor

Common feather star

Scientific name: Antendon bifida
Another member of the echinoderm phylum, feather stars share some characteristics with true starfish, but also have their very own intriguing adaptations and behaviours, which make them a fascinating find for SCUBA divers!

Species information

Statistics

Up to 15m across.

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

April – October when SCUBA diving.

About

Only found in deeper water, feather stars spend most of their time anchored to the seabed, seaweed or sometimes sponge, using extremely strong claw like appendages. They are suspension feeders, sifting out bits of plankton from the surrounding seawater using their tube feet, a characteristic of all echinoderms!

How to identify

Ten feathery arms, 5-10cm in length and usually red and white in colour, sometimes looking mottled.

Distribution

Common around British coast, except for south east.

Did you know?

Feather stars can swim by sweeping their arms and down!