Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 365–388

The stalked crinoid fauna (Echinodermata) of the Molucca and Celebes Seas, Indonesia: taxonomic diversity and observations from remotely operated vehicle imagery

  • Verena Tunnicliffe
  • Michel Roux
  • Marc Eléaume
  • Dustin Schornagel
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s12526-015-0369-x

Cite this article as:
Tunnicliffe, V., Roux, M., Eléaume, M. et al. Mar Biodiv (2016) 46: 365. doi:10.1007/s12526-015-0369-x


The seafloor of the Molucca and Celebes Seas, Indonesia, was investigated using a remotely operated vehicle with high-definition video during 18 dives to depths of 280 to 3200 m. Irregular slopes and rocky substrata supported abundant megabenthos, including stalked crinoids. Video zoomed on many individuals provided enough details to assign 770 stalked crinoids to major taxa and many to species level. These taxa included Guillecrinus neocaledonicus, Ptilocrinus cf. amezianeae, three species of Hyocrinus, an unknown phrynocrinid, Naumachocrinus hawaiiensis, Proisocrinus ruberrimus, Endoxocrinus alternicirrus, seven phenotypes in the Subfamily Metacrininae and one taxon of unknown affiliation. A novel observation of a juvenile Endoxocrinus included the attachment disk to a rocky surface. Taxa usually considered rare were well represented on hard substrata, thus expanding knowledge of their depth distributions. Mostly, stalked crinoids were sparsely distributed in low densities (to 186 individuals per km), except for occasional single-species clusters. Metacrinins and P. cf. amezianeae dominated at depths of 250–600 m, while E. alternicirrus and G. neocaledonicus were the most abundant species at a depth range of 1000–1400 m. The largest peak of species richness (with nine of the 17 taxa identified) occurred at 1000 to 2000 m. Many specimens altered their feeding posture with current intensity, but a balloon-like crown posture is common in low or non-existent currents. The postures of several mobile metacrinin individuals suggest an active role of arms and cirri in slow crawling movements. The possible origin of some taxa from either Gondwanaland or Eurasian margins is discussed using biogeographical and paleontological data. The location of the Wallace line cannot be delimited only using extant stalked crinoid distribution.


Stalked crinoids In situ imagery Taxonomic richness Behaviour Abundance Depth ranges Biogeography 

Supplementary material

12526_2015_369_MOESM1_ESM.mpg (45.1 mb)
Online Resource 1 (file ESM_1.mpg)Video of the phrynocrinid encountered on dive III-5 at 1565 m depth. (MPG 46166 kb)
12526_2015_369_MOESM2_ESM.mpg (111.4 mb)
Online Resource 2 (file ESM_2.mpg)Video of setting and features of Proisocrinus ruberrimus on dive III-3 at 1778 m depth. (MPG 114052 kb)
12526_2015_369_MOESM3_ESM.mpg (45 mb)
Online Resource 3 (file ESM_3.mpg)Video of encounter with ledge of metacrinins (phenotype 4, perhaps Metacrinus nodosus) and detail on one specimen on dive III-14 at 1175 m depth. (MPG 46046 kb)
12526_2015_369_MOESM4_ESM.xlsx (13 kb)
Online Resource 4 (file ESM_4.xlsx)Table of identifiable stalked crinoids by taxon on each dive of the INDEX Expedition to the Celebes Sea, Molucca Sea and Sangihe Arc, Indonesia. (XLSX 12 kb)

Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Verena Tunnicliffe
    • 1
  • Michel Roux
    • 2
  • Marc Eléaume
    • 2
  • Dustin Schornagel
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Biology and School of Earth & Ocean SciencesUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  2. 2.Muséum national d’Histoire Naturelle, Département Milieux et Peuplements AquatiquesUMR 7208-BOREA MNHN-CNRS-UPMC-IRD, CP26ParisFrance
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of VictoriaVictoriaCanada
  4. 4.Department of BiologyMemorial UniversitySt. John’sCanada

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