Giant Basket Star, Astrophyton muricatum

The giant basket star (Astrophyton muricatum) is an echinoderm located throughout the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. It’s the only species within the genus Astrophyton.

During the day, it curls up into a tight ball shape to provide protection from predators. At night, it climbs up to an elevated point to consume plankton by stretching it’s intricately branched feeding arms in a bowl-like shape, to catch plankton passing by and other organisms from the current.

Image Caption: Astrophyton muriatum – Basket star. Credit: Mattisse/Wikipedia