Feather stars are strange but beautiful animals

The feather star is a creature that does not look like an animal, yet it is. It is part of a family of creatures known as crinoids. They have multiple arms that wave in the water like ferns. They use their arms to filter the water and catch plankton and decaying animal and plant matter. The arms draw the food into the center where it is pushed into the mouth and ingested. In this way, they filter the water and keep it clean and clear of decaying solids. Feather stars attach to rocks, corals or other solid objects and then feed and grow. They appear firmly rooted in place and they do not often move about once they have attached, but they can crawl on the bottom to change locations for better feeding. They have been measured at speeds of up to 5cm per second. While this is not fast, it is surprising, considering their body design. The feather stars' arms remain retracted in the daytime and then they uncoil at night to feed. One of the most unique things about feather stars is that they do not have blood. They rely on gas exchange through water that flows through their vascular system. Feather stars have been alive in our ocean's for over 200 million years. They are one of the most adaptable of the ocean's creatures, seemingly unaffected by the recent increase in the temperature of our planet's oceans.

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