This bizarre creature might look like a terrifying alien — but it’s actually a common (and harmless) sea animal.
Facebook user Jr Saim posted a video of the writhing animal on Sept. 28 after he caught it off the coast of Changi, Singapore. He adds that he later released it.
It turns out the strange creature is actually a basket star, a member of the same phylum, Echinodermata, as sea stars and sand dollars. Basket stars are a type of brittle star, creatures that are known for their slender, spiky arms — although the basket star takes its appendages to a whole new level.
The spiky arms are equipped with little hooks that enable the basket star to better grip its prey. And if one of the arms gets broken or bitten off, the animal can grow another one.
Basket stars are capable of living very deep under the sea — up to 6,000 feet or so — and feed mainly on tiny animals called zooplankton.
Here’s another, less wrigly image of the basket star:
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