The Weird & Wonderful Sea Lilies and Sea Feathers
If you’re looking for a little bit of weirdness and wonder in the ocean, look no further than the crinoids. These sea creatures are like something out of a sci-fi movie, with feathery arms, handy-dandy stalks, and an otherworldly beauty.
Despite their strange appearance, crinoids are actually related to more familiar creatures like sea stars and sea urchins. They both can alter between rigid and flaccid states, and both have an interior system of canals that end in tube feet. But the big differentiator is the in how they attach to the seafloor.
Take the beautiful sea lily as an example. They have stalks that they use to fasten themselves to the seafloor. And then there are the feather stars who lose their stalks as they mature. This allows them to swim and float using a set of small legs called cirri.
But no matter how they attach themselves, crinoids are covered in tiny tube feet along their frilly arms that they use to capture suspended particles of plankton and other treats from the water.
The beauty of crinoids is not just in their functional features, but in their appearance as well. With their feathery arms and delicate colors, they are like flowers come to life in the sea. And while they are a relatively unfamiliar and strange species, they have a long history dating back over 400 million years ago.
If you’re feeling like things are a little too mundane, remember that there is a whole world of weird and wonderful creatures waiting to be explored beneath the surface of the sea. And the crinoids are just the tip of the iceberg.