species: Phanogenia multibrachiata in taxonomy (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Phanogenia multibrachiata

©Anne Hoggett: Phanogenia multibrachiata in an underhang at North Point, Lizard Island.

©Anne Hoggett: Underside of Phanogenia multibrachiata at High Rock near Lizard Island, showing numerous arms and strong ring of cirri .

©Anne Hoggett: Phanogenia multibrachiata at High Rock near Lizard Island. This is not its normal living position - it has been moved from an underhang into the open.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Echinodermata
Class Crinoidea
Order Comatulida
Family Comatulidae
Genus Phanogenia
Species Phanogenia multibrachiata



Distinguishing features

Comatulids are distinguised from all other featherstar families 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.

Phanogenia multibrachiata adults have more than 100 fine arms and a good ring of cirri. This species and its congener, Phanogenia gracilis, are the most delicate and "clingy" of the comasterids.

Colour of the few specimens of Phanogenia multibrachiata known from Lizard Island is distinctive: they are deep burgundy with patches of pink and white.


  • Size data has not been obtained.

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Phanogenia multibrachiata lives with its central body concealed within the reef and a bush of arms exposed.

The species has been found only on the exposed reef slopes from North Point along the eastern side of the island group to South Island.

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.