Ophiuroidea -Brittle Stars & Basket Stars

 

There are about 2,000 extant species. They have five branched or unbranched arms. They lack and anus and the mouth opens to a blind stomach.

Brittle Star - Ophioderma panamense

Brittle Star - Ophiactis simplex

 

The brittle star is very fragile and can detach it's arm to get away from a predator. It will be able to grow back another identical arm. They are relatively fast, and their thin, whip-like arms tend to writhe independently of each other when the animal it is disturbed. The brittle star hides under rocks or among seaweeds and eats small particles or small organisms like worms.

If you see brittle stars in the tide pool areas, care is needed to pick up and examine as the arms do detach very easily.

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