The ocean is a massive place, and saltwater anglers know better than most that strange creatures inhabit it. While most anglers dip their lines in the hope of familiar fish such as tuna, tarpon, and even shark, sometimes they get something a little bit more unexpected. According to the New York Post, 54-year-old Ong Han Boon was fishing near the island of Sentosa in Singapore when he snagged this bizarre-looking creature. While it may look like a wriggling monster from the deep, it is actually a relative of the common starfish called the basket star.
“When I pulled it out of the water, I was completely flummoxed by what I was looking at,” Boon told local reporters. “I’ve had quite a few odd things come out of the ocean, but I have never seen anything like this before in my life. It had all these arms waving around.”
Basket stars are part of a group of creatures termed “brittle stars.” With over 2,000 species under its umbrella, many brittle stars closely resemble starfish while others look vastly different. Basket stars are defined by their many-branched arms and large size, weighing up to 11 pounds. They generally stick to the deep ocean, although sometimes they end up close to the surface. According to the Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, basket stars can be found as deep as 6,564 feet below sea level. Ones closer to the surface generally end up in muddy waters and rocky shores, where they feed on zooplankton.