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Sea lilies

posted by Ainsley Drew   Mar 30, 2009

Crinoids, or sea lilies, are marine animals that resemble plants. Unlike its garden namesake, the sea lily doesn’t stay still, but creeps along to avoid becoming prey for sea urchins and other predators.

It seems they’ve also developed the ability to “shed” their stalk-like appendages.

“It’s the lizard’s tail strategy,” said Baumiller, who is also a curator in the UM Museum of Paleontology. “The sea lily just leaves the stalk end behind. The sea urchin is preoccupied going after that, and the sea lily crawls away.” And the speed at which they move—-three to four centimeters per second—-suggests that “in a race with a sea urchin, the sea lily would probably win.”

When on the move, they resemble graceful spiders in a hurry.

Crinoids are also the state fossil of Missouri, and inspired the design of Pokemon characters Lileep and Cradily.

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