This deep-sea creatures has dozens of beautiful, undulating arms

This deep-sea creature I recently discovered is gorgeous. It's called a basket star (Gorgonocephalus eucnemis) and can live at depths ranging from 10 meters to 1850 meters (30 feet to 6,110 feet). It also grows up to 75 centimeters, or 30 inches. The basket star is an echinoderm, which means it's in the phylum Echinodermata. According to the Seattle Aquarium, Echinoderms—which include creatures like sea urchins and sea cucumbers—are invertebrates that are covered by a hard spiny skin. They all have a central body with five arms, and the basket star has dozens more tentacle-like arms branching out from the five core arms. The Seattle Aquarium explains that "the arms branch out, and then branch out again and again, forming a dense network that's similar to some trees on land." I am absolutely mesmerized watching all of its beautiful, undulating arms!

Here's a great description of these fascinating creatures, from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI):

A basket star's repeatedly branching arms bear microscopic hooks and secrete sticky mucus to help grab planktonic prey. After snagging a morsel of food, the arm curls into a tight knot and passes it to the mouth beneath the star's central disc. Basket stars are especially common at seamounts. These underwater mountains deflect the currents running along the deep seafloor, concentrating food and supporting a rich community of life. Corals and sponges thrive on seamount slopes and provide refuge for countless fishes and invertebrates. These deep-sea oases are threatened by fishing gear and climate change, and may soon become targets for seabed mining too. But marine protected areas can safeguard seamounts and the abundant animals that depend on them. 

To see more basket stars, check out this truly impressive gallery of photos, also from MBARI.