Lizard Island Field Guide: Lizard Island area: all known taxa: description of species: Comanthus parvicirrus
Comanthus parvicirrus

©Lyle Vail and Anne Hoggett: Comanthus parvicirrus arms protruding from a crevice. Note the darker transverse lines on arms and yellow pinnule tips.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Echinodermata
Class Crinoidea
Order Comatulida
Family Comatulidae
Genus Comanthus
Species Comanthus parvicirrus



Distinguishing features

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

Comanthus parvicirrus adults have 20 to 40 slender arms which are usually longer on one side of the animal than the other. There are a few weak cirri.

The most common colour form around Lizard Island is brown brachials with darker articulations and grey/blue cirri. Specimens not of this colour form are usually mostly dark green. There is not a dark midline on the underside of the arms.

This species is easily confused with Comanthus gisleni and positive identification is difficult unless the animal is extracted from its crevice.


  • 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

Comanthus parvicirrus is semi-cryptic, with a few arms protruding from a crevice.

Comanthus parvicirrus can be found almost everywhere around the Lizard Island group. It is common on the reef slopes and is also found in the lagoon and back reef areas.

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.

Other references

  • Eeckhaut, I., M.J. Grygier and D. Deheyn (1998). Myzostomes from Papua New Guinea, with related Indo-west Pacific distribution records and description of five new species, Bulletin of Marine Science, 62(3): 841-886. LIRS catalog number 557.
  • View all references