species: Clarkcomanthus perplexum in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Clarkcomanthus perplexum

©Anne Hoggett: Clarkcomanthus perplexum as found at Watson's Bay, Lizard Island, off Chinaman's Ridge, 16 metres depth, at night.

©Anne Hoggett: Underside of Clarkcomanthus perplexum, Watson's Bay, Lizard Island.

©Anne Hoggett: Underside of Clarkcomanthus perplexum at Watson's Bay, Lizard Island. Central area showing discoidal centrodorsal plate, cirri, and division series.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Echinodermata
Class Crinoidea
Order Comatulida
Family Comatulidae
Genus Clarkcomanthus
Species Clarkcomanthus perplexum



Distinguishing features

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

Clarkcomanthus perplexum has up to 52 arms and up to 23 cirri. Pinnule combs end in a sharp point. The third division series is usually (but not always) of two ossicles.


  • Size data has not been obtained.

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

The species is endemic to the east Australian coast between Lizard Island and the Solitary Islands in NSW. At Lizard Island, it is known from a single specimen in the Australian Museum collection and the individual photographed here. Clarkcomanthus perplexum appears to be restricted to non-reef habitats but it was not found in Messing et al.'s (2006) survey of soft-bottom crinoids.

Web resources


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.
  • 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.