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Taxonomy

Morphology
Neocrinus decorus, like most echinoderms, is composed of numerous calcite plates which are arranged into different organs.N. decorus is divided into 3 sections:
  1. The stem:
    • raises the calyx and arms above the sediment and is composed of a stack of numerous 5-sided star-shaped plates.
    • bears flexible, finger-like appendages called cirri that are used to reattach itself to the substrate after moving.
  2. The calyx (body or theca):
    • is formed of 2 bands of 5 plates that form a cup-shaped body, from which the bases of the arms arise.
    • is covered on top by numerous small polygonal plates. The mouth and anus are found on this surface.
  3. Arms:
    • 5 originate in the calyx but these frequently divide, similar to tree branches, so that there may be up to 40 arms in total.
    • are formed of stacks of U-shaped calcite plates
    • bear numerous projections called pinnae (like those of a fern frond). It is on these pinnae that tube feet, covered in mucus, extend into the water and catch plankton.
    • are moveable
    • are usually arranged in a parabolic fan to collect food
    • can be used for crawling (dragging the stem behind it).

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