A feather star (Antedon petasus)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



A feather star with ten neatly arranged arms. Each arm being typically 7-10 cm in length. Colouration occurs in patches of red, brown or white. The underside of the arms have an almost smooth exterior. Antedon petasus has 50-100 short banded cirri, generally with 15 segments, which extend from the lower hemispherical plate.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Generally a northern species in Britain and Ireland. Common in the northern part of the Irish Sea and inshore in the west coast of Scotland.

Global distribution



Usually found in sheltered to moderately exposed habitats attached directly to wrecks, hard substratum or kelp and sessile animals. Commonly found at depths of 20 to several hundred metres.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Ten orderly arranged feather-like arms
  • 50 short banded cirri
  • Lower side of branchials and pinnules smooth.
  • Pinnule joints gradually decrease in size.
  • Outer edge of branchials is not thickened and prominent.

Additional information

Antedon petasus may be confused with the smaller feather star Antedon bifida which has a banded colour pattern of red, pink, orange or yellow and less 30 short cirri on the undersurface of the central disc. Although Antedon petasus is less common than Antedon bifida they are found in similar locations, Antedon petasus being more dominant in northern deep waters.

Listed by

- none -


  1. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  2. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line] http://www.jncc.gov.uk/mermaid

  3. MarLIN (Marine Life Information Network), 2005. SEArchable BEnthic Data (SEABED) Map [on-line]. Data Access Sub-programme, Marine Life Information Network for Britian and Ireland http://www.marlin.ac.uk,

  4. Mortensen, T.H., 1927. Handbook of the echinoderms of the British Isles. London: Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press.

  5. Nichols, D., 1969. Echinoderms (4th ed.). London: Hutchinson & Co.

  6. Picton, B.E. & Costello, M.J., 1998. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland. [CD-ROM] Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin.

  7. Picton, B.E., 1993. A field guide to the shallow-water echinoderms of the British Isles. London: Immel Publishing Ltd.


  1. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

  2. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2024-06-12


This review can be cited as:

Heard, J.R. 2007. Antedon petasus A feather star. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 12-06-2024]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/2116

Last Updated: 09/01/2007