With the look of something out of a science fiction movie, a strange sea creature has caused quite a stir after a video showed it swimming in the Pacific Ocean.
Known as a feather star, the odd-looking organism is closely related to starfish, according to Britannica.com.
Its feather-like tentacles, from which it gets its common name, are actually fringed legs known as cirri, which the animals use to feed on drifting plankton and other microorganisms.
The feather star group, known also by its scientific classification, Crinoidea, includes a whopping 550 species that spend most of their lives perched atop sponges and coral, waving their strange cirri to catch invisible prey that drifts by.
A video featuring one of the creatures went viral on Twitter after it was posted by the “Oddly Terrifying” account.
Mysterious fish found swimming in Pacific Ocean pic.twitter.com/ObP6cHP7Vu
— OddIy Terrifying (@OTerrifying) November 24, 2022
The feather star may be known to scientists, but commenters were mesmerized by the strange but graceful movements of the creature.
One compared the appearance of the odd animal to biblical descriptions of angels.
Ah yes, the biblically accurate angels DLC
— Earth Updates (@Earth_Updates) November 24, 2022
Another shared a video of another species of feather star with different coloration.
Are you afraid of this one too?
This one makes it even more obvious why they are called “featherstars”. pic.twitter.com/5NeoLazwJN
— King Gilgamesh (@0x0Gilgamesh) November 24, 2022
The black and white “feathered” cirri are fanned by the feather star to help it glide near the ocean floor, most often to find a better area to filter feed.
At the end of the first video, you can see the feather star straighten out its cirri and gently begin to float to what is likely its new home for the time being, hopefully more plentiful in nutritious plankton.
While some users found the creature’s odd movements terrifying, feather stars are neither poisonous nor venomous and are harmless to humans.
Still, if you spot something you aren’t familiar with in the ocean, it’s best to keep a safe distance.
There are various creatures that, while not deadly, could definitely lead to a bad time for any vacation.
One example is the beautiful lionfish, a devastatingly invasive species in many oceans. The lionfish carry hidden barbs that deliver a painful sting to anyone careless enough to step on them as they glide along the ocean floor.
If you see one, there’s no need to panic, but observe these graceful and unique creatures without disturbing them and they’ll happily ignore your presence.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.