Researchers are studying feather star ecology in the Philippines, including the unique ways infestor species have adapted to their hosts. Feather stars are an ancient species of marine invertebrate. Some species are mobile when seeking food or escaping predators, but most spend their time perched on surfaces.
One focus of the researchers’ study is infestors—animals that live on feather stars and feed on their waste. Infestors can mimic the feather stars’ colors and patterns very closely. According to researcher Angela Stevenson, feather stars may be “providing inhabitants with everything they desire in a safe haven.”
Related reading: In a World of Warming Seas, Feather Stars Might be Winners and more about crinoid fossils from the British Geological Society.
Then watch a feather star swimming off the coast of Japan and more symbiosis videos on TKSST, including Incredible Teamwork From Little Clownfish and Butterflies and bees drinking turtle tears in the Peruvian Amazon