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Ciliastars split off from their ancestor and lost their filter-feeding ability, instead switching to only eating with their mouths. Their cilia-like mouth bristles beat constantly, drawing microscopic organisms into their mouths much like a terran rotifer. Their mouth shape is adjusted into four lobes to allow water to flow out more easily, increasing the efficiency of their eating ability. They can be found nearly anywhere where moisture and cells are present, even deep underground in the water table. They are most common in wet sunlit regions with access to the ocean floor or riverbed, or in moist soil. Some species, especially in freshwater environments, may also offer protection to various small photosynthesizers such as adoras and photosagnia inside follicle-like openings left behind from the loss of their bait cells in exchange for sugars produced by photosynthesis; however, this is not a universal or necessary feature. They swim by beating their arms like flagella.

Different species of Ciliastar are difficult to distinguish from one another on sight alone. Some species prefer to cling to other organisms and stay still as they consume microbes from the surrounding water, while others seemingly swim constantly. The most consistent species identifier is the arrangement of the eyes; being so extremely simple in structure, essentially just being light-sensitive patches of skin, they easily reduplicate and are easy to lose. As a result, some species have few or many eyes in a myriad of arrangements.

Like other lagnodactyls, Ciliastars have finger-like extensions at the ends of each arm. They mainly use these for mating--the cloaca is located on the topmost arm, and they hold hands with their tiny, tiny little fingers to mate.