Monday, May 23, 2016

Basket stars are entirely marine invertebrate animals. Their bodies are composed of a central disk with many arms branching outward forming thousands of branchlets. When feeding, they extend several of their arms into the water, the branchlets spread...

Basket stars are entirely marine invertebrate animals. Their bodies are composed of a central disk with many arms branching outward forming thousands of branchlets. When feeding, they extend several of their arms into the water, the branchlets spread out like a fan, macroscopic zooplankton  are caught by an array of microscopic hooks on the arms. Branchlets in the vicinity curl and wrap around captured prey forming a localized knot, whilst mucus from glands further immobilize the prey. At some point knot-laden arms roll in towards the underside of the disk and the captured prey is transferred to the mouth.

Photo credit: @ annika.nor

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