Basket star

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Basket star feeding at night at the Red Sea.JPG
Basket star (Astroboa nuda) feeding at night at the Red Sea
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Echinodermata
Class: Ophiuroidea
Order: Phrynophiurida
Suborder: Euryalina
Lamarck, 1816


Close-up of (Astroboa nuda) basket star arm
Basket star taken from the Atlantic Ocean

Basket stars, sometimes referred to as a Shetland Argus[1] , are a taxon of brittle stars. They are treated as a suborder Euryalina[2] or order Euryalida.[3] Many of them have characteristic repeatedly branched arms. They generally live in deep sea habitats. In the wild they may live up to 35 years. They weigh up to 5 kilograms (11 lb). Like other echinoderms, basket stars lack blood and achieve gas exchange via their water vascular system.

The basket stars are the largest ophiuroids with Gorgonocephalus stimpsoni measuring up to 70 cm in arm length with a disk diameter of 14 cm.[4]

Systematics and phylogeny[edit]

The fossil record of this group is rather poor and only dates back to Carboniferous.[5] Basket stars are divided into the following families:


  1. ^ "Definition of Shetland Argus". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Euryalina". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. 
  3. ^ Smith, A.B.; Paterson, G.L.J. . Ophiuroid phylogeny and higher taxonomy: morphological, molecular and palaeontological perspectives. Zool. J. Linn. Soc. 114 (1995)
  4. ^ Grzimek's Animal Life Encyclopedia, vol 1, Gale Cengage 2003
  5. ^ E.Clarkson, E. N.K. Clarkson, Invertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution. Wiley-Blackwell; 4.ed. (1998)

External links[edit]