Cenolia trichoptera Click to enlarge image
Orange Feather Star, Cenolia trichoptera Image: Dr Isobel Bennett
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    trichoptera
    Genus
    Cenolia
    Family
    Comasteridae
    Order
    Comatulida
    Class
    Crinoidea
    Phylum
    Echinodermata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    20 cm

Introduction

The Orange Feather Star is one of the largest and most conspicuous feather stars in southern Australia.

Identification

The colour of the Orange Feather Star varies from orange through to brown, but can also be green, black or purple.

Habitat

Orange Sea Stars live in coastal waters to a depth of 35 m.

Distribution

Orange Sea Stars are found from New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

Feeding and diet

To feed, feather stars can have as many as 40 arms at any one time waving around catching small food particles, which are then wafted along the 'food grooves' to the mouth. Both the mouth and the tube feet are on the upper surface, which is the reverse of sea stars. Their sticky tube feet help them catch food and are also very important for absorbing oxygen.

Other behaviours and adaptations

Feather stars get their name from their long branched arms, which have a feathery appearance. They attach themselves to rocks or seaweed using sticky appendages underneath known as 'cirri'.