This extraordinary creature is a basket star, a deep-sea type of brittle star with many branched arms. Its scientific name, Gorgonocephalus, refers to the gorgons of Greek mythology, who had live snakes for hair. Basket stars walk across the sea floor on their arm tips and feed by holding their branched arms upwards – this forms a ‘basket’ that traps food. They are found at depths of 200–500 metres around New Zealand’s continental shelf.
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Photograph by Peter Batson
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