Blake, Daniel B. Department of Geology, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois.
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An order of sea stars and members of the class Asteroidea. The name is derived from the club-shaped plates, or paxillae, that form the sea star's upper skeletal surface and that have tiny spinelets or granules covering their tips (see illustration). Paxillosida encompasses six families, the largest being the Astropectinidae, Luidiidae, and Porcellanasteridae. The Ctenodiscidae, Goniopectinidae, and Radiasteridae are represented by comparatively few members. Astropectinids and luidiids are primarily predators of mollusks and other echinoderms. The former are found over a wide range of depths, whereas the latter live in relatively shallow water. Porcellanasterids are deep-water asteroids that swallow sediment in bulk as they bury themselves to a level just below the surface.
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