species: Clarkcomanthus littoralis in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Clarkcomanthus littoralis

©Anne Hoggett: Clarkcomanthus littoralis from under rubble at North Point, Lizard Island.

©Anne Hoggett: Clarkcomanthus littoralis from under rubble at North Point, Lizard Island.

©Anne Hoggett: Clarkcomanthus littoralis at Big Vicki's Reef, Lizard Island, at night.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Echinodermata
Class Crinoidea
Order Comatulida
Family Comatulidae
Genus Clarkcomanthus
Species Clarkcomanthus littoralis



Distinguishing features

Featerstars in the family Comatulidae are distinguised from all others by having terminal segments of the oral pinnules modified to form a comb. Comatulids a also have a distinctive "feel" due to well developed hooks on most pinnules that cause them to cling like velcro.

Twenty to 40 arms. Most adult specimens have no cirri but juveniles have a few. Pinnule segments are very short and spinous.

There are two distinct colour forms of this species. One is consistent. It has pale grey brachials with tan articulations and soft parts. This form usually lacks cirri. The other colour form is more variable. It is green, varying from bright lime to brown/green to blue/green. This form may have a few cirri, even as adults, or none.


  • Size data has not been obtained.

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Semi-cryptic, usually found with a few arms protruding from a crevice. Occasionally completely concealed.

Clarkcomanthus littoralis is found throughout the Lizard Island group. A survey in the 1980s (unpublished) found the grey/tan colour form to be most common at the base of the reef slope near South Island and the green colour form to be most common on the reef slope at North Point and on the reef flat between Palfrey and South.

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Rowe, F.W.E., A.K. Hoggett, R.A. Birtles and L.L. Vail (1986). Revision of some comasterid general from Australia (Echinodermata: Crinoidea), with descriptions of two new genera and nine new species, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 86: 197-277. LIRS catalog number 198.
  • Summers, M. M., C.G. Messing and G.W. Rouse (2014). Phylogeny of Comatulidae (Echinodermata: Crinoidea: Comatulida): A new classification and an assessment of morphological characters for crinoid taxonomy, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 80: 319-339. LIRS catalog number 1813.

Other references

  • Bakus, G.J. (1981). Chemical defense mechanisms on the Great Barrier Reef, Science, 211: 497-499. LIRS catalog number 41.
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