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Soft Sediment Basket Stars (Biotic Group)

Component: Biotic

Unique Identifier: 1283

Biotic Setting Benthic/Attached Biota
Biotic Class Faunal Bed
Biotic Subclass Soft Sediment Fauna
Biotic Group Soft Sediment Basket Stars
Biotic Community Asteronyx Bed
Gorgonocephalus arcticus Bed

Definition Sandy or muddy areas characterized by brushy, many-armed echinoderms known as basket stars. Basket stars and the more common brittle stars are members of the class Ophiuroidea, but the arms of basket stars bifurcate many times to form a large complex that is reminiscent of a basket. Basket stars are usually larger than brittle stars, and maintain an upright form, generally clinging to solid objects, conspecifics, or other fauna using their bifurcated arms. In some soft sediment locations, basket stars form large entangled aggregations consisting of many individuals and covering large areas. Most basket stars are suspension feeders, but some species are more omnivorous or predaceous.