species: Alloeocomatella pectinifera in Lizard Island area: all known taxa (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Alloeocomatella pectinifera

©Lyle Vail and Anne Hoggett: Alloeocomatella pectinifera - photo taken at night at Big Vicki's Reef in July 2007.

©Lyle Vail and Anne Hoggett: The same specimen of Alloeocomatella pectinifera as above. Note the extremely long combs on the oral pinnules.

©Anne Hoggett: Underside of Alloeocomatella pectinifera at Lizard Island
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Echinodermata
Class Crinoidea
Order Comatulida
Family Comatulidae
Genus Alloeocomatella
Species Alloeocomatella pectinifera



Distinguishing features

Comatulids are distinguised from all other featherstar families by having terminal segments of the oral pinnules modified to form a comb. Most comatulids also have a distinctive "feel" due to well developed hooks on most pinnules that cause them to cling like velcro. Alloeocomatella species are the exception: they feel slippery rather than clingy.

Alloeocomatella pectinifera has 10 long, delicate arms up to 50 cm long (longest known for a crinoid), a good ring of cirri, and its oral pinnule combs are conspicuously long and broad. Brown to burgundy or red in colour, sometimes with whitish concentric bands. Arms are extended into water column at night and are retracted quickly in response to light.


  • Up to 50 cm (longest arms)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.



Local abundance

  • Lizard Island: Rarely seen due to cryptic habits.


Totally concealed during the day, curled under slabs of rubble. Exposes several arms at night, reacts strongly to light by withdrawing.

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

  • Messing, C.G. (1995). Alloeocomatella, a new genus of reef-dwelling feather star from the tropical Indo-west Pacific (Echinodermata: Crinoidea: Comasteridae), Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 108(3): 436-450. LIRS catalog number 436.