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035

Crinoids

OLogy Series
animal
card
035

Crinoids

OLogy Series
animal

Next time you scuba dive into the depths of the ocean, keep an eye out for crinoids. These creatures look like flowering plants from a garden, but as their "petals" wave through the water, they catch food as it passes. These animals have been living in Earth's oceans for over 500 million years. And some types are still alive today!

Most of the crinoids' body is made of:

leaves

calcium carbonate

skin

Are you right?

Correct!

Crinoids may look like plants, but they do have a skeleton that is made of calcium carbonate pieces called ossicles. They hold its muscles and ligaments together. Calcium carbonate is also the main ingredient in limestone.

Which creature is very closely related to crinoids?

sea star

mud puppy

great white shark

Are you right?

Correct!

Crinoids are members of the phylum Echinodermata. Sea stars, sea urchins, and sand dollars are also members of the echinoderm group.

Crinoids swim from place to place in search of food all of the time.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

Crinoids don't have to travel to find food because they are perfectly built for snacking on plankton and tiny creatures that drift by them.

Crinoids go to the bathroom through a body part called the anal pyramid.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Like most living creatures, crinoids have to poop. As unbelievable and yucky as it sounds, it's true. And believe it or not, the crinoids' mouth is right next to its other end!

Pronunciation: CRY-noyd
Name Origin: Greek for lily-like, also known as "Sea Lilies"
Phylum: Echinodermata
Habitat: deep ocean
Age: Paleozoic to present; 500 million years ago to today
Number of Living Species: over 650 species
Characteristics: rare and colorful creatures that resemble flowering plants

Image credits: courtesy of AMNH, Department of Library Services 10260.