Deep-sea crinoid discovered in real time

Three Endoxocrinus maclearanus flank a purple sea fan with a snake star, courtesy Bioluminescence 2009 Expedition, NOAA/OER

Three Endoxocrinus maclearanus flank a purple sea fan with a snake star at 2000 ft depth in the Bahamas. Image courtesy Bioluminescence 2009 Expedition, NOAA/OER

If you didn’t get a chance to follow along with the Bioluminescence 2009 Expedition last week, you can catch up online at the NOAA Ocean Exploration expedition website. The image above is only one of a few dozen impressive photographs posted.

The purple sea fan is NOT the most amazing thing about this picture, actually, (you didn’t hear it from me). Nor can we say the three living fossil Endoxocrinus maclearanus sea lilies are most amazing , because the most amazing thing is that Dr. Chuck Messing announced his discovery of a new species  of crinoid on the WEB! In real time.

We are pleased to report the discovery of a new species (possibly a new genus) of stalked crinoid, or sea lily, belonging to a family previously unknown in the western Atlantic Ocean. The miniature palm-tree-like animal, a relative of sea stars and sea urchins, is a member of the crinoid family Phrynocrinidae, which includes only four other species known from the northeastern and southern Atlantic, the Indian and western Pacific Oceans. It differs from these, and from all other living crinoids…

That’s gusto, Dr. Messing. Kudos!!

Peter Etnoyer (397 Posts)

PhD candidate at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi and doctoral fellow Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.

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