SCUBA News 245
(ISSN 1476-8011)

SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011)
Issue 245 - November 2020

Hello and welcome to SCUBA News. Black Friday even reaches the diving world, with 50% off liveaboards to places like the Galapagos, Maldives and Red Sea.

What's New at SCUBA Travel?

Coral and Sergeant Major fishs

Captivating Kenya

Five marine parks protect Kenya's fringing coral reef and there are some great dive sites here.

Carpe Vita liveaboard

Comparing Liveaboards

New section on the site compares liveaboards, starting with the Carpe Diem fleet in the Maldives.

Creatures of the Month: Fabulous Feather Stars

Two Feather stars on a night dive
Feather Stars - photo credit: NOAA

Relatives of starfish, there are many different species of feather star. Some species have 5 arms, some 200.

By day these beautiful animals keep curled up but on night-dives you see them in their warm colours, with their feathery arms extended.

Pink translucent feather star
Photo credit: Jill Studholme
Feather star in Soma Bay, Red Sea, Egypt.

When food is plentiful, with strong currents carrying large amounts of plankton, feather stars will form large groups. Look closely at them and you will often see another animal - a shrimp, crab or fish - living with the feather star.

Feather star close up
Feather star "legs" or cirri. Photo credit: NOAA

Arm bitten off? Just grow a new one

Ten families of fishes prey on feather stars. If one of their limbs is bitten in half the feather star will slowly regenerate it, growing the arm around 3-4 mm a week.

Feather star mouth
Photo credit: NOAA

Also known as crinoids, feather stars have a tenacious grip and anchor themselves to coral, seaweed, sponges and the like. They can swim by sweeping their arms up and down, or crawl slowly on the tips of the arms which are bent right over to hold the body away from the sea bed. They spend most of their time though simply anchored in their chosen location, suspension-feeding.

Swimming and crawling feather stars with their associated animals, from National Geographic

Catching a meal

Their feathery branches are equipped with numerous tiny tube feet that catch floating food and flick it into grooves which run down each arm. The food is then transported down to the mouth in the centre of the body. Unlike starfish, a feather star's mouth is on the top side of its body.

Feather star mouth
Photo credit: NOAA

You find feather stars almost everywhere: in tropical, temperate and polar seas.

Red Feather star
Photo credit: NOAA

Next time you are night-diving it's worthwhile spending some time examining these lovely creatures.

Night Dive in the Red Sea - Feather Stars and Fish

Phylum: Echinodermata > Sub-Phylum: Crinozoa > Class: Crinoidea > Order: Comatulida

Further Reading and References

Great British Marine Animals, by Paul Naylor

Angela Stevenson and Tomasz Baumiller, Threadfin hawkfish predation on a stalkless crinoid, Front Ecol Environ 2020; 18( 7): 485-485, doi:10.1002/fee.2272

Tomasz Baumiller and Angela Stevenson, Predation on fossil and Recent ophiuroids, Swiss Journal of Palaeontology, 2019; 137, 189-196.

Diving News From Around the World

Our round up of the best underwater news stories of the past month. For breaking news see our Twitter page or RSS feed


Remotest islands in the world to be a massive marine reserve
Tristan da Cunha, the most remote inhabited islands in the world, is creating the fourth largest marine reserve on the planet.

Antarctic blue whale

Blue Whales make comeback in South Georgia
Blue Whales return to South Georgia after whaling all but wiped them out

Pigmy Sperm Whale

Are industrial chemicals killing rare whales and familiar dolphins?
Dozens of whales and dolphins that beached themselves on the U.S. Atlantic Coast contained high levels of pollutants. For the first time, scientists detected the widely used antibiotic Triclosan and the popular herbicide Atrazine in rare species that spend their lives hundreds of kilometers offshore.

North Carolina shipwreck

Now you can explore shipwrecks from home
Explore North Carolina shipwrecks and the marine life that inhabit them in 3D with NOAA's new website: Living Shipwrecks 3D.

Borocay clean up

Philippine resort owner hit with environmental charges as Boracay cleans up
The owner of two resorts on the Philippine holiday island of Boracay has been arrested for alleged violations of the country's environmental laws.

Mako Shark

EU and US block plans to protect world's fastest shark
The population of shortfin mako, mainly caught as bycatch but also prized by sports fishermen, is facing an alarming decline

Coral reef

Scientists organize to tackle crisis of coral bleaching
An international consortium of scientists has created the first-ever common framework for increasing comparability of research findings on coral bleaching.

Coral reef

World's deepest swimming pool opens to divers
Deepspot has opened for divers for the first time. At 45 m, it is deeper than the previous record holder in Italy - which has a depth of 42 m

SCUBA News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. This means we are happy for you to reuse our material for both commercial and non-commercial use as long as you: credit the name of the author, link back to the SCUBA Travel website and say if you have made any changes. Some of the photos though, might be copyright the photographer. If in doubt please get in touch.

Photo credits: Tim Nicholson, Jill Studholme, Kristin Riser, Jianye Sui

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