Mah, Christopher L. Department of Invertebrate Zoology, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.
- Feeding and ecological interactions
- Reproduction and development
- Evolutionary relationships
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
An order of asteroids that includes primarily cold-water but especially deep-sea sea stars with a wide-ranging, sometimes global distribution. The five extant families included in Velatida are Pterasteridae, Myxasteridae, Korethrasteridae, Caymanostellidae, and Solasteridae. Although included herein, recent molecular evidence suggests that the family Solasteridae may actually be part of a separate order of sea stars, the Valvatida. The velatidan body can be pentagonal to star-shaped with 5–15 arms. Size ranges from the smallest Caymanostellidae [about 0.2–0.8 in. (0.5–2 cm) in diameter] to large Pterasteridae, which can be over 1 ft (0.3 m) in diameter. Most velatidans are 2 to 6 in. (5 to 15 cm) wide (armtip to armtip). Many velatidans have poorly developed skeletons. See also: Asteroidea; Deep-sea fauna; Echinodermata; Valvatida
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