Lizard Island Field Guide: Taxonomy: description of species: Comaster audax
Comaster audax


©Photo Lyle Vail and Anne Hoggett: Comaster audax.

©Lyle Vail and Anne Hoggett: Comaster audax.

©Anne Hoggett: Lab photo of underside of Comaster audax from Lizard Island. Paratype, Australian Museum specimen J17558.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Echinodermata
Class Crinoidea
Order Comatulida
Family Comatulidae
Genus Comaster
Species Comaster audax

Colours

                   

Distinguishing features

Comatulids are distinguised from all other featherstar families by having terminal segments of the oral pinnules modified to form a comb. They also have a distinctive "feel" due to well developed hooks on most pinnules that cause them to cling like velcro.

Comaster audax is rarely found above 10 m depth and it is almost always fully exposed. It holds its numerous arms stiffly in a bush-like posture and it has a few cirri.

Colour of the underside of the arms is almost always pink/brown. Pinnule colours include white, black or brown arranged in a patchy, speckled pattern.

Size

  • Size data has not been obtained.

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.

Synonyms

Distribution


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Comaster audax is usually found perching on hard substrate, such as corals, hydroids and sea whips in water deeper than 10 m.

The species is found most commonly at the base of the reef slope on the eastern side of the island group, especially around South Island.

Web resources

References

References that assist with identification

  • Rowe, F.W.E., A.K. Hoggett, R.A. Birtles and L.L. Vail (1986). Revision of some comasterid general from Australia (Echinodermata: Crinoidea), with descriptions of two new genera and nine new species, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 86: 197-277. LIRS catalog number 198.

Other references

  • Rouse, G.W., L.S. Jermiin, N.G Wilson, I. Eeckhaut, D. Lanterbecq, T. Oji, C.M. Young, T. Browning, P. Cisternas, L.E. Helgen, M. Stuckey and C.G. Messing (2013). Fixed, free, and fixed: The fickle phylogeny of extant Crinoidea (Echinodermata) and their Permian - Triassic origin. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 66: 161-181. LIRS catalog number 1601.