species: Capillaster multiradiatus in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Capillaster multiradiatus

©Lyle Vail and Anne Hoggett: Typical living position of Capillaster multiradiatus in a Millepora colony . This one is at Big Vicki's Reef.

©Lyle Vail and Anne Hoggett: Capillaster multiradiatus - upper side of the same animal

©Lyle Vail and Anne Hoggett: Capillaster multiradiatus - underside of the specimens in photo at top of this page
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Echinodermata
Class Crinoidea
Order Comatulida
Family Comatulidae
Genus Capillaster
Species Capillaster multiradiatus



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.

Capillaster multiradiatus has about 20 robust, flexible arms and a good ring of cirri. Usually dark brown or khaki on the underside. A common colour form has brown pinnules speckled with white on the upper surface, but pinnules may be all brown or nearly all white, or have blocks of brown and white.


  • Up to 20 cm (Length of specimen) - applies to Diameter up to 20 cm

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Usually entwined in branches of hard coral or Millepora.

Local abundance

  • Lizard Island Group: Easily found on reef slopes and in the lagoon amongstĀ branching corals andĀ Millepora

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.
  • Summers, M. M., C.G. Messing and G.W. Rouse (2014). Phylogeny of Comatulidae (Echinodermata: Crinoidea: Comatulida): A new classification and an assessment of morphological characters for crinoid taxonomy, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 80: 319-339. LIRS catalog number 1813.

Other references

  • Hoggett, A.K. and F.W.E. Rowe (1986). A reappraisal of the family Comasteridae A.H. Clark, 1908 (Echinodermata: Crinoidea), with the description of a new subfamily and a new genus, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 88: 103-142.
  • View all references