A new type of feather star with 20 “arms” was discovered by researchers.
The species belongs to the Antarctic feather stars group and is closely related to starfish.
The discovery was named after a strawberry, as per the scientists.
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Researchers scoured the ocean near Antarctica and discovered a new species that appears frightening in pictures, but was named after emerald fruit.
The Antarctic strawberry feather star, as described by Greg Rouse, a marine biology professor at the University of California, San Diego, is characterized by 20 “arms,” which can be either smooth or feathery and measure up to eight inches in length.
The paper on the new species was co-authored by Rouse and her colleagues from Emily McLaughlin and Nerid Wilson, and it was published in Invertebrate Systematics last month.
Although the alien-like creature may not initially resemble an exotic fruit, its size and shape can be seen when you examine its small nubby body at the peak of all those arms.
The Antarctic strawberry feather star, with a base that looks like berries, was photographed with some of its cirri removed. Credit: Greg W. Rouse; image captured close to the end.
The cirri, small tentacle-like strings that protrude from the base of the star, were supposed to be located in the circular bumps on its body, but they were removed to reveal their attachment points, according to Rouse.
“The cirri has been removed, which allows you to see the parts that are attached to them, and that’s what looks like a strawberry,” he explained.
He stated that the cirri have small claws at their ends that are utilized to hold onto the seafloor’s base.
Rouse explained that the arms of the Antarctic strawberry feather star, which are longer and feathery compared to the wings in the picture, are typically spread out and aid in its movement.
The Crinoidea group, which includes starfish, sea urchins, sand dollars, and sea cucumbers in addition to the newly discovered Promachocrinus fragarius, has been named as an “Antarctic feather star.” The term Fragarius is more informal because it is a type of feather-star, with the name deriveing from the Latin word “fragum,” which means strawberry.
During an interview, the professor stated that there was only one species in the Antarctic feather star group, which was Promachocrinus kerguelensis.
Promachocrinus kerguelnsis was once believed to be the only known species within its own genus. However, Eric A.” Lazo-Wasem reports that this is no longer true.
By using a net, Australian and US scientists were able to identify four new species that belong to the Antarctic feather star group while searching for additional specimens in the Southern Ocean.
Rouse noted that the Antarctic strawberry feather star has several “arms,” which is a notable feature.
According to Rouse, feather stars usually have their “arms” pointed upwards and their cirri (groove) pointed downwards.
Rouse stated that the discovery could result in the addition of eight additional species to the Antarctic feather star category, as well as previously discovered animals that were initially thought to be their own species.
Rouse explained that Promachocrinus was once a single species with 20 arms, but now there are eight species, with six having 20 and two having 10 arms.
The Antarctic strawberry feather star was found to be situated between 215 feet and 3,840 feet beneath the surface, as per the paper.
The “extraordinary qualities” of the swimming movements of feather stars were revealed by researchers in their paper.
Rouse stated that discovering new species in general is not a frequent occurrence, and his Scripps Institution of Oceanography lab at the university can identify as many as 10-15 species annually.
“The difficulty in naming species is compounded by the significant amount of effort involved,” he explained.