Heliometra glacialis is a large and stout species, reaching an arm length of 200 mm or even more. Colour in life yellowish.
Body centro-dorsal hemispherical, with cirrus-sockets irregularly arranged. Cirri rather stout and numerous, about 100 or more, covering nearly the whole of the centro-dorsal; they have mostly ca. 40-60 joints. Brachials usually smooth. Proximal segments somewhat longer than wide, the distal short, with more or less prominent dorsal spine. Oral pinnules greatly elongated and flagellate, composed of very numerous short and wide joints; the distal part of these pinnules more or less serrate. Pinnule 2 of about the same length as pinnule 1. The genital pinnules with fairly large calcareous plates in the side walls.
The eggs are probably free. The pentacrinoids are only rarely found and only a few stages are known. The stalk joints are rather stout.
This is a free-moving species of sheltered habitats after the pentacrinoid has detached itself from its stalk.
Northern parts of the North Sea in cold areas: Norway S. to 70° and slope 62° , Spitsbergen, Faeroes. Known to have a bathrymetrical distribution, 18-1358 metres.
Heliometra glacialis is an arctic species, probably of circumpolar distribution.
The form of the North Pacific grows to a larger size than the Atlantic form.