Photo of the Week: Featherweight


Neither fish nor fowl nor even a plant, there are creatures beneath the sea wonderful to behold.

This image of a featherstar (Pontiometra andersoni) was recently shared by Scripps Oceanography marine biologist Greg Rouse, who photographed it off Indonesia.

"That specimen was collected as part of our NSF (National Science Foundation) project Assembling the Echinoderm Tree of Life (recently concluded)," Rouse wrote. "We are working on building an evolutionary tree of living crinoids (featherstars and sea lilies) using next-generation technology DNA sequencing. We went to Raja Ampat in Indonesia as this region has a high diversity of featherstars."
Featherstars like this are crinoids, marine animals that use their arms to filter particles of food from seawater.
Images on Rouse's Instagram feed highlight the variety of featherstars as well as their symbiotic relationships with other creatures, ranging from squat lobsters to cling fish.

Related Image Gallery: Photo of the Week 2017


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