The feather star can swim?
Indeed, this sea star cousin does. It’s June’s Staff Pick of the Month.
James N., who nominated this animal, says, “At first, I barely even noticed the feather star when I first looked into this exhibit. As soon as I discovered that it could swim, I’ve become fascinated by this species.” Feather stars wave their feathery arms up and down to escape other sea stars – predators like the sunflower star.
James, the Aquarium’s membership administrator, has noticed that visitors generally don’t spend too much time exploring this exhibit. He says, “Like myself, I’ve seen visitors confuse it for a plant.”
Feather stars (Florometra serratissima) are found in deeper waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean. They eat microscopic plants and animals (plankton) that float by.
James says, “I love the unsung species here, those that often get overlooked, and this is one that I feel should be getting more attention. I’ve watched many videos of feather stars on the internet and I am nearly obsessed with its ability to swim.” He adds, “I always hope to catch the feather star swimming whenever I walk by, but so far I’ve yet to see it.”
Patience, young James. Maybe one day!
Written by Karen Horak, writer-editor, content and digital experience at the Vancouver Aquarium.