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

©Photo Lyle Vail and Anne Hoggett: Clarkcomanthus mirus scrambling for cover after its slab of rubble had been overturned. Note the large visceral mass in the centre.

©Anne Hoggett: Underside of Clarkcomanthus mirus at Lizard Island

©Anne Hoggett: Clarkcomanthus mirus removed from under rubble. The fleshy visceral mass can be seen near centre.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Echinodermata
Class Crinoidea
Order Comatulida
Family Comatulidae
Genus Clarkcomanthus
Species Clarkcomanthus mirus



Distinguishing features

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

Clarkcomanthus mirus is a large, cryptic or semi-cryptic crinoid with up to 40 long, slender arms and a few weak cirri at most, often no cirri.

Its colour is distinctive at Lizard Island, usually appearing as a solid yellow or pale green crinoid when in its normal living position. The underside is either yellow or yellow/green with darker green articulations between the brachials and yellow pinnules. All known specimens of this species have an extremely large, flesh-coloured visceral mass.


  • 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

Oxycomanthus mirus always has the central body hidden under a slab of rubble or within the reef. During the day, a few arm tips may be exposed.

This species has been found on patch reefs between the research station and Palfrey Island and in Mermaid Cove.

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.