Marine Biology

, Volume 118, Issue 3, pp 433-442

First online:

Feeding mechanism of the brisingid starfish Novodinia antillensis

  • R. H. EmsonAffiliated withDivision of Life Sciences, King's College
  • , C. M. YoungAffiliated withHarbor Branch Oceanographic Institution

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This paper describes the food and feeding mechanisms of the bathyal brisingid sea-star Novodinia antillensis (A. H. Clark, 1934). N. antillensis is shown to be an opportunistic suspension feeder capable of capturing living planktonic crustaceans of a wide range of sizes. The sea-star extends its 10 to 14 arms into water currents to form a feeding fan with a large surface area, and uses highly retentive pedicellaria on the lateral arm spines to grasp and retain prey. The flexible arms form arm loops to complete the capture. The pedicellaria have a structure very similar to that used by other species known to capture macroscopic prey and, although they are an order of magnitude smaller, they probably function in a similar manner.