Deepwater feather stars, or crinoids, are rarely found in such abundance on the seafloor as seen in this video. On this dive, we came across a dense field of feather stars, some being grazed upon by cidaroid urchins, one of their dominant predators. If necessary, some crinoids are capable of swimming short distances to escape predators or find better locations to feed. They do this by undulating their arms in a mesmerizing manner, gaining some distance above the seafloor, and gliding downward to a soft landing.
This Stylmetra spinifera crinoid seen was swimming through the water column on Dive 18 of the Océano Profundo 2018: Exploring Deep-sea Habitats off Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands expedition.
Image courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Océano Profundo 2015: Exploring Puerto Rico’s Seamounts, Trenches, and Troughs.
Learn more about the expedition: oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/explorations/ex1811/welcom...