BIOTIC Species Information for Antedon bifida
Researched byJacqueline Hill Data supplied byMarLIN
Refereed byThis information is not refereed.
Scientific nameAntedon bifida Common nameRosy feather-star
MCS CodeZB10 Recent SynonymsNone

PhylumEchinodermata Subphylum
Superclass ClassCrinoidea
Subclass OrderComatulida
Suborder FamilyAntedonidae
GenusAntedon Speciesbifida

Additional InformationAntedon bifida may be confused with another feather-star species Antedon petasus which has a more northerly distribution around the British Isles. Antedon petasus is larger and has 50 or so short cirri on the undersurface of the disc.
Taxonomy References Fish & Fish, 1996, Hayward & Ryland, 1995b,
General Biology
Growth formPinnate
Feeding methodPassive suspension feeder
Environmental positionEpibenthic
Typical food typesParticulate matter such as detritus and plankton. HabitFree living
BioturbatorNot relevant FlexibilityHigh (>45 degrees)
FragilityFragile SizeMedium(11-20 cm)
HeightInsufficient information Growth RateInsufficient information
Adult dispersal potential1km-10km DependencyIndependent
General Biology Additional InformationMobility
Feather-stars are also able to swim short distances by moving the arms up and down through the water.
Biology References Fish & Fish, 1996, Hayward & Ryland, 1995b,
Distribution and Habitat
Distribution in Britain & IrelandAntedon bifida is found around most of Britain and Ireland but is apparently absent from the southern part of the east coast of England.
Global distributionWidely distributed in north-west Europe from Shetland to Portugal.
Biogeographic rangeNot researched Depth rangefrom ELWS to 450m.
MigratoryInsufficient information   
Distribution Additional InformationNo text entered

Substratum preferencesAlgae
Large to very large boulders
Physiographic preferencesOpen coast
Offshore seabed
Strait / sound
Enclosed coast / Embayment
Biological zoneSublittoral Fringe
Upper Infralittoral
Lower Infralittoral
Upper Circalittoral
Lower Circalittoral
Circalittoral Offshore
Wave exposureModerately Exposed
Very Sheltered
Tidal stream strength/Water flowModerately Strong (1-3 kn)
SalinityFull (30-40 psu)
Habitat Preferences Additional Information
Distribution References Fish & Fish, 1996, Hayward & Ryland, 1995b, La Touche, 1978,
Reproduction/Life History
Reproductive typeGonochoristic
Developmental mechanismPlanktotrophic
Reproductive SeasonPossibly all year. See additional information Reproductive LocationAs adult
Reproductive frequencyAnnual episodic Regeneration potential No
Life spanInsufficient information Age at reproductive maturity1-2 years
Generation timeInsufficient information FecundityInsufficient information
Egg/propagule sizeInsufficient information Fertilization typeExternal
Larval/Juvenile dispersal potentialInsufficient information Larval settlement periodInsufficient information
Duration of larval stage2-10 days   
Reproduction Preferences Additional Information
  • Mature individuals can be recognised by swollen genital papillae at the base of the arms. Eggs escape through splits which appear in the pinnule walls, and adhere in groups to the external wall of the pinnule where fertilization takes place. The embryos are held on the pinnules in a mucous net during which time the female holds its arms close together in what has been described as brooding behaviour, allowing spawned females to be readily identified. Embryos remain attached in groups of up to 20 for four or five days (Chadwick, 1907 cited in Nichols, 1991). The embryos hatch as free-swimming larvae which, after a short pelagic phase, attach to the substratum and develop a short stalk. At this stage they are known as pentacrinoid larvae. The pentacrinoids eventually detach and by this stage the small, prehensile cirri have developed on the undersurface of the disc.
  • The season of spawning for Antedon bifida is universally stated as May to July. However, Nichols (1991) observed that mature oocytes and active sperm were present in every month of the year although a spawned out condition is seen in samples every so often. Therefore, although shed embryos have only been seen in the period May to July, it is possible that, like the congeneric Antedon mediterranea, Antedon bifida reproduces all year. Other evidence leads Nichols (1991) to suggest that Antedon bifida may have two shedding strategies, also shedding directly into the seawater as in the case of the congeneric Antedon petasus.
  • In later work Nichols (1994) suggests that the maintenance of gonads at a high level of maturity throughout the year is a life-history trait developed to tolerate the predation of expendable and easily-regenerated gonads.
  • Brooding female comatulids are almost insensitive to mechanical stimuli (Lahaye & Jangoux, 1984).
Reproduction References Fish & Fish, 1996, Nichols, 1991, Nichols, 1994,
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