Holy Crap What Is This Writhing Deep Sea Creature?

Just what exactly is this strange deep sea creature? Before releasing it back into the sea, Facebook user Jr Saim uploaded this video. Can you tell what it is?


Turns out its a really big Basket star, a member of a group of echinoderms called Brittle stars.

Don't be confused though. Brittle stars, which are sometimes also called Serpent stars, aren't actually the same as the starfish you're probably more familiar with. But they are related. Most of the starfish you've seen in aquarium touch-tanks are members of the taxonomic class Asteroidea, but Brittle stars - there are over 2000 species of them - are called Ophiuroidea.

For context, humans are members of the class that includes all mammals: dogs, horses, cows, tigers, squirrels, bats, and all the rest. That's how broad these classifications are. Brittle stars may look like Sea stars, but they've been evolving separately for more than 500 million years. The last common ancestor you share with a frog wasn't born for another 150 million years after that!



I wish he'd held still and filmed longer. I love it! It looks really cute.