This week-Some of my favorite things...
I'lle flottante-my favorite French desert. Basically, its egg whites made into a merangue and then placed on top of egg yellows mixed up with sugar.
*Ahem*But as far as echinoderms go..let's go look at some STARFISH (asteroids, sea stars, whatever...) and other critters..
Here's a pic of me holding one of the world's LARGEST starfish-
1. Thromidia gigas from Madagascar!
2. Sphaeriodiscus bourgeti! A funny looking beast that looks more like a cookie or a rubix cube type puzzle than an animal... This species lives in deep-sea habitats off the west coast of Africa in the tropical Atlantic. Sometimes, I honestly wonder how something with this shape can be alive at all.. (you will hear me re-iterate this question again below...)
3. Luidia! A beautiful multi-armed species of the sand-star Luidia! This specimen is from Madagascar-but generally, these starfish live on sandy bottoms where they prey on mollusks and other smaller, slower sand-dwelling critters.
We've seen something closely related to this species in some spectacular video...
4 Asterodiscides tessellatus aka the "Firebrick" or "ToeNail" star!
5. Anseropoda spp. Among the most bizarre is the FLATTEST of the sea stars. Most of these live in the deep-sea. I've shown you pictures of them alive from Hawaii..
But its hard to convey from submersible camera shots, just HOW THIN and FLAT these starfish are...
The bottom surface.. (note the mouth at center and the tube foot grooves radiating out from it) The arms and body are somewhat damaged..but hopefully you can make out the general shape..
Annnnd..let's not forget our friends-the closely related ophiuroids (brittle stars)...(this one is Amphiophiura liberata)
And where would be if we didn't end with some kind of deep-sea sea cucumber? Not QUITE sea pigs..but close.... Here's some Oneirophanta mutabilis!
For some reason..I am always around places that have giant deep-sea crabs.
How many people can say that keeps happening to them??