Star of the Deep
A rare basket star, seen riding on its intricate network of arms, is among a haul of strange and previously unknown deep-sea creatures recently found in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, scientists announced Tuesday.
Ten potentially new species—including "mountaineering" sea cucumbers and possible "missing links" between invertebrates and backboned animals—were discovered during the six-week expedition.
The voyage, which ended July 3, was the last of the MAR-ECO project, a series of biological surveys of unexplored waters along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the underwater mountain range that bisects the Atlantic Ocean from north to south.
Basket stars are types of brittle stars—starfish cousins that use their intricate arms to walk and snare passing prey such as plankton and shrimp, according to MAR-ECO member Imants "Monty" Priede, director of the University of Aberdeen's Oceanlab in the northern United Kingdom.