Basket Star

The Basket Star (Astrospartus mediterraneus), (Risso,1826) is a echinoderm belongs to the phylum Echinodermata, to the Ophiuroidea class, Gorgonocephalidae family. The Basket Star is characterized by five tentacles, each branched several times, with which it clings to the branches of the soft corals and which are opened at night to feed on. The body has a diameter that can reach 8 centimeters, with the complete opening of the tentacles the maximum width of the entire animal can reach 80 centimeters. It feeds passively with the open tentacles, in particular of planktonic microparticles. stella gorgone

Basket Star - Stella Gorgone - Astrospartus mediterraneus - www.intotheblue.it
Basket Star – Stella Gorgone – Astrospartus mediterraneus – www.intotheblue.it

Quite rare, it does not like light and during the day it is easy to see it with the arms curled up to expand them at night in order to capture the nutrient particles carried by the marine current. In the video I made you can see it with the almost complete opening of the arms because even though it was made during the day. I was at a depth of over 80 meters where the light is very attenuated. Beautiful and elegant, when it is open, it seems to see a refined female embroidery lying on the Red Gorgonia enhancing the beauty of the images presented to the diver.

Basket Star - Stella Gorgone - Astrospartus mediterraneus - www.intotheblue.it
Basket Star – Stella Gorgone – Astrospartus mediterraneus – www.intotheblue.it

It is found in the western Mediterranean Sea, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and on the coasts of Spain and Senegal; common in Algeria and Morocco. It lives from 30 meters deep up to 800 meters, generally on branches of Paramuricea clavata, Eunicella singularis or on sponges. As we have already said, the starfish is present throughout the Mediterranean Sea but is rather rare; moreover, there is little information on its biology and its reproduction.

Basket Star - Stella Gorgone - Astrospartus mediterraneus - www.intotheblue.it
Basket Star – Stella Gorgone – Astrospartus mediterraneus – www.intotheblue.it

It is a starfish typical of the entire Mediterranean Sea although there are areas where we can encounter it more frequently such as in the Sicily canal and the Strait of Messina; in Sardinia in the Maddalena Archipelago and in the Strait of Bonifacio; throughout the Tuscan Archipelago and in the coastal areas of Livorno; in Liguria from the Cinque Terre to Portofino. stella gorgone

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