A Modern Soft-Bottom, Shallow Water Crinoid Fauna (Echinodermata) from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Crinoid, Coral reefs, Australia
A recent preliminary survey revealed that 12 species of unstalked crinoids occur on a gentle sandy slope (12–18 m depth) at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia; five of which are also found on coral reefs. The other seven appear to constitute a unique assemblage restricted to unconsolidated substrates, where most cling to algae or hide beneath rubble or sponges. Members of this assemblage exhibit all of the basic feeding postures found among reef-dwelling species. However,Comatula rotalaria, which lacks anchoring cirri and bears uniquely differentiated short and long arms, exhibits a posture different from other living crinoids. Quantitative transects reveal apparent depth-related differences in species composition: C. rotalaria dominated the 12 transects in 12–13 m (84% of 82 specimens), while Comatella nigra, Comatula cf. purpurea, Amphimetra cf. tessellata and Zygometra microdiscus accounted for 96% of 54 specimens observed along 12 transects in 16–17 m.
Messing, Ch G., D. L. Meyer, U. E. Siebeck, L. S. Jermiin, D. I. Vaney, and Greg W. Rouse. "A modern soft-bottom, shallow-water crinoid fauna (Echinodermata) from the Great Barrier Reef, Australia." Coral Reefs 25, no. 1 (2006): 164-168.