Wild Fact #257 – A Stalking Star – Basket Star

Basket Star

Photo from Wikimedia

Yesterday, we took a break from the that to learn about a cold loving reptile found in the mountains of Tasmania. Well, we are going to follow up that trip with an even colder adventure that takes us to the deep blue sea….in some cases. The Basket Star love colder climates and can be found hanging out in the shallow ocean waters surrounding the Arctic and Antarctic areas or if they can be found doing their thing in deeper sections of the oceans surrounding the equator. That’s right, these creatures are actually going deeper just so they can get their cold on. Yeah, I don’t know what they are thinking either!

A “Handy” Star

The first thing you probably noticed from the picture above were the number of crazy looking tentacles the Basket Star has. These tentacles come in quite handy when you are trying to feed. It doesn’t matter if you are a species that like to feed on detritus or if you prefer to chase down your prey, these “arms” play a big role in directing food into their mouth. Where in the heck is the mouth on this scraggly mess of tentacles? Well, it is on the underside of their central disc, of course. Oh, and since the Basket Star does not have an anus…..waste is also released out of their mouth. I can’t even imagine how bad their breath smells.

Basket Star

Photo by SERPENT Media Archive Project

A Love Affair

The Basket Start definitely has a love for coral and sponges. In fact, they will spend a good chunk of their time hanging around with these other animals. During the night, they will often climb up a nice tall piece of coral in an attempt to get higher into the current so they can pluck food off as it passes by. Once the sun rises these little Basket Stars, tired from a hard nights work, will usually curl up on the coral or sponge and take a well deserved nap. The really smart ones will actually find a poisonous sponge to hang out with in an attempt to scare away any predators. Personally, I wouldn’t mess with a Medusa-like creature sitting on a poisonous sponge, so I am guessing their defence mechanism is highly effective.

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