The Raja Ampat Creature Feature Series: Feather Starfish
Although not an actual starfish, the Feather starfish is known to be one of the oldest and most primitive alive animal species in the world.
As the name suggests, these starfish have many appendages that grow from their bodies and resemble feathers. While these so-called feathers vary significantly in their colour and exact shape, they are all ideally suited to blend in with their environment. These starfish will often be hidden between soft coral formations whose color and shape perfectly mimic where they feed on micro-organisms found in the reef systems. While they possess the perfect camouflage, they still need to move at times.
Feather starfish can detach themselves from their hiding spots and use the ocean currents to gently drift, much like a feather in the wind, to a new area. While this is an impressive feat and makes for some incredible photo opportunities, what is even more impressive is that the Feather starfish can walk along the reef and sea bed.
Despite many appendages on the starfish’s body, it can move slowly over a surface using small movements in each appendage. When you see a Feather starfish moving in this way, it will remind you of a tumbleweed traveling through the desert.
While it might be tempting to get close and personal with these starfish, they pose no threat to divers. However, be aware that they will often attach themselves to your wetsuit or swimming outfit and can only be forcibly removed from the tiny hook-like growths hooking into the fabric.
These starfish can be found in a variety of colours and shapes, from pitch black to vivid orange. As a diver, it is a profoundly satisfying experience to observe one of these starfish gently swaying along with the water movement giving the sense of flying through the air.
About Meridian Adventure Dive
Situated in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, Meridian Adventure Dive is a PADI 5 Star Resort and winner of the PADI Green Star award. Scuba divers enjoy our professional services that have become synonymous with both the PADI and Meridian Adventure names.