- The species is highly active , writhing its rays in all directions like an animated bush . It almost always has the tips of the rays curled into tiny loops for catching prey .
- This species does not usually do well in an aquarium , even with running seawater. If lifted from the water it tends to get a bubble in its oral cavity , which rises up under the skin and makes the animal buoyant . It then floats helplessly around the tank until the bubble is carefully released. Even if handled carefully it should not be kept in the tank for more than a few days because it quickly begins dropping rays, starting at the tips, and will soon die if not returned to the sea .
Common Names in English:
Basket Sea Star, Basket Star
Species Gorgonocephalus eucnemis
Unlike any other local ophiuroid, the rays of the basket star branch repeatedly dichotomously. The central disk is covered with a loose-fitting skin with a dark brown color between the bases of the rays and a pinkish color, more similar to the ray color, near the ray bases. Actual color may be variable from tan, beige, orange-red, and pink to almost white; but the central disk is usually darker than the rays.
One of the largest known ophiuroids, it can have a diameter of up to half a meter.
Usually on rocky bottoms
with moderate to strong
on sandy or muddy bottoms which have projecting
or sea pens.
We most frequently observe this basket star on rocky bottoms, in areas of high current, and on an elevated place such as the top of a boulder or underwater hillock where it is fully exposed to the current.
Depth Range : Subtidal , 10 m to nearly 2000 m, most commonly 15-150 m. 
Biome: Marine .
Ecology: This species seems to have a strong co-occurrence with the soft coral Gersemia rubiformis. In Puget Sound , Gorgonocephalus juveniles have been reported within the pharynges of Gersemia polyps, where they appear to develop and apparently feed . The young do not leave the Gersemia until their rays are long enough to capture food.
It feeds on suspended particles by spreading its rays out like a fan, oriented mostly perpendicular to the current . Macroscopic zooplankton such as copepods , chaetognaths , and jellyfish are caught by microscopic hooks on the rays. The fine branchlet tips (see picture) then curl around the object and slowly move it toward the mouth (exact method is unclear). The prey of basket star species is said to range up to 3 cm (just over an inch ) in size, and most basket stars capture prey mainly at night but may retain their prey until daytime to actually feed on them. Mucus may also help to immobilize prey. This species has also been reported to feed on the small benthic sea pen Stylatula elongata.
This species seems to have a strong co-occurrence with the soft coral Gersemia rubiformis. In Puget Sound , Gorgonocephalus juveniles have been reported within the pharynges of Gersemia polyps, where they appear to develop and apparently feed . The young do not leave the Gersemia until their rays are long enough to capture food.
Most common on rocky bottoms , in areas of high current , and on an elevated place such as the top of a boulder or underwater hillock where it is fully exposed to the current. The species is highly active , writhing its rays in all directions like an animated bush . It almost always has the tips of the rays curled into tiny loops for catching prey .
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- C. Linnaeus, 1758
- (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Grobben, 1908
- (Marcus, 1958) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Klein, 1734 ex De Brugière, 1789
- Bell, 1891
- Infraphylum: Asterozoa () - Von Zittel, 1895
- Subphylum: Eleutherozoa () - Bell, 1891
- Phylum: Echinodermata () - Klein, 1734 ex De Brugière, 1789 - Echinoderms
- Infrakingdom: Coelomopora () - (Marcus, 1958) Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Branch: Deuterostomia () - Grobben, 1908
- Subkingdom: Bilateria () - (Hatschek, 1888) Cavalier-Smith, 1983
- Kingdom: Animalia () - C. Linnaeus, 1758 - animals
Gorgonocephalus caryi Lyman • Gorgonocephalus japonicus Doederlein
Status: Accepted Name
Comment: Distribution: Juveniles are known to live on, or in, the polyps of alvyonarians (Patent , 1970) Authority: (J. Müller & Troschel, 1842)
Last scrutiny: 18-Jul-2007
Members of the genus Gorgonocephalus
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 2 species and subspecies in this genus:
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- Monogenetic trematodes: their systematics and phylogeny / by Boris E. Bychowsky; edited by William J. Hargis, Jr.; translated by Pierre C. Oustinoff. Washington, D.C.: American Institute of Biological Sciences, c1961. url p. 588.
- Papers in marine biology and oceanography, dedicated to Henry Bryant Bigelow by his former students and associates on the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1955. London, Pergamon Press, 1955. url p. 25.
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- Report of the Second Norwegian Arctic expedition in the "Fram" 1898-1902. .. Kristiania, In commission by T. O. Brøgger, 1907-1919. url , , .
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- Report on the scientific results of the voyage of H.M.S. Challenger during the years 1873-76: under the command of Captain George S. Nares, R.N., F.R.S. and Captain Frank Turle Thomson, R.N. / prepared under the superintendence of Sir C. Wyville Thomson. Edinburgh: Neill, 1880-1895. url p. 261, p. 263, p. 323.
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- Zoogeographical investigation of certain fjords in southern Greenland, with special reference to Crustacea, Pycnogonida and Echinodermata including a list of Alcyonaria and Pisces, København, s.n., 1916. url p. 378.
- Brands, S.J. (comp.) 1989-present. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Zwaag, The Netherlands. Accessed January 15, 2012.
Accessed through GBIF Data Portal February 01, 2008:
- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, Gwaii Haanas Invertebrates
- Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, NCOS1959_Echinodermata
- The Swedish Museum of Natural History
- , Invertebrates
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 2765066
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: Oph-124969
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 157360
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 153381