Image: Mark Woombs

Ancient survivors

These plant-like animals evolved hundreds of millions of years ago. They are echinoderms, relatives of the sea urchins and starfish and brittlestars, and like them they have five-fold symmetry. Their ten arms have branches which give the appearance of feathers. Each arm is around 7-15cm long and varies from yellow, pink, brown to white. Unlike sea urchins, feather stars can swim.

Featherstars use their arms to catch food in the passing water.

Northern Feather star

Leptometra celtica


Image: Mark Woombs




Priority Marine Feature


Depth: 40-1000m


Physical damage from mobile fishing gear is the main threat to Northern Feather stars.