Midgardia Xandaros – The World’s Biggest Starfish

What is Midgardia Xandaros?

Midgardia Xandaros is a starfish whose arms are longer than those of any other starfish in the whole world! It’s a member of a group of starfish called Brisingid starfish. Some special features of Brisingid starfish are

  • They usually have more than 5 arms – Midgardia Xandaros can have up to twelve!
  • They usually live in very deep water – Midgardia was found about 600 metres (2000 feet) deep in the Gulf of Mexico.  The world record for a Scuba diver is only about half that, so as you can imagine, it’s hard to get pictures of live Midgardia.
  • Brisingid starfish eat by lifting some of their legs up – then, some velcro-like hairs trap small edible particles.

Because Midgardia Xandaros is the world’s biggest starfish, it is also the world’s biggest Brisingid starfish. In fact, it is the world’s biggest echinoderm of any type!

How Big Is Midgardia Xandaros?

Midgardia has very long arms – and a tiny body! Although each arm is 67cm (over 2 feet) long, its body is only 1 inch (2.6cm) across! Because of this, Midgardia does not hold the record for the heaviest starfish – that record goes to Catala’s Starfish, also known as the Fat Starfish. Still, stretching over 4 feet across from one side to the other, Midgardia would be quite a sight to see!

What else is known about Midgardia Xandaros?

Midgardia was discovered in 1970 in the Gulf of Mexico, but very little is known about its habits, life cycle or numbers, except what can be guessed from the fact that it is a Brisingid starfish. It doesn’t even have a common name – it only has its scientific name, Midgardia Xandaros. Nobody has tried to study Midgardia or been able to capture one alive or filmed it in its natural habitat. This is because Midgardia lives so deep down that it is difficult to study. Amazingly much of the ocean is just as deep or deeper. The fact that we know so little about this record breaking starfish show that we know very little about most of the ocean. Perhaps there are even bigger starfish waiting to be discovered?

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