Sabrina Signer, an underwater photographer and waitress, recently captured a remarkable moment on camera – a feather starfish gracefully fluttering through the water over coral. This awe-inspiring encounter took place during her visit to Bali, Indonesia, in March 2023.
Feather starfish, scientifically known as Crinoids, are intriguing marine creatures belonging to the Crinoidea family, which includes starfish, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers. Typically, these creatures attach themselves to the sea floor using a stalk from their bodies, often resembling plants and earning them the nickname “sea lilies.”
Sabrina, hailing from Switzerland, expressed her astonishment at encountering the rarely seen feather starfish swimming freely. She explained, “It is not that common to come across feather stars. They usually sit on a rock and don’t move at all and look like a plant! And then sometimes you can accidentally bump into them while swimming.”
The mesmerising spectacle left Sabrina captivated as she witnessed the feather starfish’s elegant movements. With over 500 dives in Bali since 2011, she noted that she had encountered this unique sight only a few times.
Observing these creatures in action, Sabrina marveled at their colourful variations and the symbiotic relationships they share with tiny crinoid shrimps that use them as a home.
Feather stars are filter-feeders, consuming organisms and particles by extracting water from their surroundings. Despite their apparent fragility, they exhibit intricate abilities, with some having up to 200 arms and the capacity to move up to five centimetres per second.
Sabrina documented the mesmerising experience using a Sony RX100 camera. She shared the incredible video on Instagram, garnering over 169,000 views. In the clip, the feather starfish can be seen swimming gracefully, its numerous arms gently fluttering as it glides over the coral reef.
Her caption read: “Rare mesmerising swimming feather star,” and the video quickly gained attention, amassing thousands of likes and comments from astonished viewers.
The enchanting encounter evoked a sense of wonder and appreciation for the remarkable creatures that inhabit our oceans. Sabrina’s dedication to raising awareness about the beauty and uniqueness of our planet Earth, while inspiring positive change, serves as a reminder of the need to protect and cherish the natural world around us.