species: Tropiometra afra in taxonomy (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Tropiometra afra

©Lyle Vail: Tropiometra afra at Lizard Island.

©Lyle Vail and Anne Hoggett: Tropiometra afra is always black and has fine, long, evenly-spaced pinnules arranged in a single plane

©Andy Lewis
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Echinodermata
Class Crinoidea
Order Comatulida
Family Tropiometridae
Genus Tropiometra
Species Tropiometra afra



Distinguishing features

A large crinoid with only ten arms. The arms are distinctive: brachials are slender and the pinnules are fine, long, relatively stiff, evenly spaced, and held in a single plane. Colour is always black. The central part of the animal is almost always hidden. This is the only species in the family Tropiometridae found in Australia.


  • Up to 50 cm (Length of specimen) - applies to Diameter up to 50 cm

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Central body usually concealed within a crevice with about 200 mm of the arms protruding, sometimes hanging under ledges.

Found at low density in most reef areas around the Lizard Island Group.

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Clark, A.M. and F.W.E. Rowe (1971). Monograph of shallow-water Indo-west Pacific echinoderms British Museum (Natural History), London.

Other references

  • Lange, A., T. Heinzeller and U. Welsch (1995). Carbohydrate-histochemistry on the ovary of Tropiometra afra (Echinodermata: Crinoidea) in: Echinoderm Research 1995. Smith and Campbell (Ed.). Balkema, Rotterdam, pp. 299-304. LIRS catalog number 751.
  • Meyer, D.L. (1979). Length and spacing of the tube feet in crinoids (Echinodermata) and their role in suspension-feeding, Marine Biology, 51: 361-369. LIRS catalog number 29.
  • View all references