Thursday, April 28, 2016

Unusual Sea Creatures - The Basket Star

A deep sea fisherman recently caught a basket star . The creature is so rare he had never seen one before and did not know what he had caught. It may look like an alien, or even a monstrous moving plant, but this incredibly complex-looking creature is a relative of the starfish.
It actually has five arms, radiating from a central disk, which are each split into more dexterous 'branchlets', which it uses to catch prey underwater. It belongs to the echinoderm family, which includes starfish, sea urchins and brittle stars.
But they differ from starfish, for example, because each arm branches out into countless flexible others, which can be used by the creature to create a tangled mesh, designed to ensnare plankton and even small crustaceans. These flexible tendrils act like a basket to catch prey, giving the animal its name.
They position themselves in a place where there is a current strong enough to cause small creatures to drift past it – without carrying the basket star away too.
The basket star spreads its arms out to create as large a ‘basket’ as possible. It then grabs prey by coiling its tendrils around plankton and small animals.
Very little is known about the animal’s eating habits, but it is known that the spines and hooks on its arms, as well as mucus, make it hard for prey to escape its clutches.
Experts at the university explained: ‘The basket star wraps several branchlets around its prey, forming a knot. This knotted arm is then drawn toward the central disk.
‘The manner in which food is transferred through the disk to be digested is not yet known.’
Basket stars can have a central disk that is five-and-a-half inches (14cm) in diameter and each of their arms can be up to five times longer than their body.
They come in orange, red and white.
The creature can live around 6,564 ft (2 km) below the waves, but typically favours life between 50 ft (15 metres) and 500 feet (152 metres) below sea level, according to experts at Oregon State University.
Despite being rarely seen, basket stars live along the Pacific Coast, from the Bering Sea to southern California.


Pyrosomes and salps are pelagic (free-swimming) tunicates or sea squirts. All species are open ocean animals that rarely come close to shore, and all are colonial, although many salps can also be solitary.
Pyrosomes are colonies of tiny animals that form hollow tubes sealed at one end - the long tube species in the first part of the video is giant pyrosome, Pyrostremma spinosum - this one is only about 15m long but it can reach 30m in length! Pyrosomes get their name (Pyro = fire + soma = body) from their ability to emit light (bioluminescence) - colonies can glow or flash light at night, particularly if touched.
Salps have much larger individuals than pyrosomes, individuals pump water through themselves. Colonies are formed of chains of individuals. Salps can form very high densities under good conditions, and are an important oceanic food source for fish.
These animals were filmed off the Tasman Peninsula in Tasmania, Australia - one of the few areas in the world where a wide range of oceanic gelatinous plankton, including ctenophores and jellyfish, comes close to shore, and is easily seen while diving. 


  1. There will be more strange things from the sea ... Global Warming /farckling is causes all strange things to surface .

    Mankind almost destroyed the forest and now they are destroying the oceans .
    Good post
    Love BAW

  2. PS:
    I don't think I would fish/swim in the oceans / lakes , I would take a swim in Dad's / Mae bathtub .

  3. I'm even scared to sit in the garden with ticks carrying Lyme disease and Mosquitos carrying West Nile disease. Those things were not around when I was a kid. No place is safe any more except hiding under the bed. No, that's not too safe either, since we had the bedbug pandemic. Hahahaha!! Mars, here I come.
    Love PIC


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