Development and growth of the feather star Oxycomanthus japonicus to sexual maturity

Tomoko F. Shibata, Atsuko Sato, Tatsuo Oji, Koji Akasaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Crinoids, including feather stars, are the most basal group among extant echinoderm classes and share a basic body plan. In spite of their importance for evolutionary developmental study, information on the development of crinoids has been limited, because there are not many species whose spawning season is known, and artificial spawning is impossible. Therefore, it is not easy to obtain fertilized eggs of crinoids. We have observed the spawning and development of the feather star Oxycomanthus japonicus for 7 years. We have established a cultivation system that has enabled us to culture large numbers of O. japonicus from eggs through to sexually mature adults. In the present study, we show that (1) individuals take 2 years to reach sexual maturity; (2) the skeleton of the theca of a stalked juvenile consists of five orals, five basais, five radiais, five infrabasals, and an anal plate; and (3) the onset of spawning has shifted by about two weeks since 60 years ago. Our cultivation system can provide enough embryos, larvae, juveniles, and adults for further experiments, extending the possibilities for crinoid research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1075-1083
Number of pages9
JournalZoological Science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Nov


  • Crinoid
  • Development
  • Feather star
  • Long-term culture
  • Sexual maturation
  • Spawning season


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