Basket Star Facts
- The rather astonishing looking Basket Star represents an extraordinary marine invertebrate and as a group, it also represents a type of brittle star.
- Fascinatingly, all species in this suborder known remain quite flexible and have the ability to curl into tight balls when under threat.
- Individuals do not possess blood as such. Instead, each generates gas exchange through water circulated through their vascular system.
- Roughly 2,100 known separate species currently comprise this fascinating suborder of incredible looking marine invertebrates.
Basket Star Physical Description
Given the huge number of species within the suborder, physical appearances between different varieties of Basket Star vary significantly. However, some similarities remain.
Most species of this unique suborder possess a relatively small central disk surrounded by numerous branched arms. These typically develop curled and gnarly.
The various species also vary greatly in size with some only 1 in (2,5 cm) across, yet others are as much as 3 ft (1 m) across.
Coloring also varies, of course, yet most commonly includes numerous bright colors. The most common colors include, red and white, yet brown also remains common.
Basket Star, Distribution, Habitat and Ecology
The various types of Basket Star generally live in a variety of habitats, in nearly all oceans. Some prefer deep ocean environments while others dwell in shallow tidal pools.
An average lifespan typically measures roughly 35 years.
Most forms of this marine invertebrate feed as filter feeders. They will feed on detritus, plankton, and occasionally small mollusks.
If attacked by a predator, the animal actually remains capable of breaking off its own branches, which will then grow back rapidly.
Different species reproduce in different ways. Some reproduce sexually, others through asexual means.