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Brittle and Basket Stars: Ophiuroidea

Tropical Brittle Star (ophiactis Savignyi): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Tropical brittle stars usually have six arms. The body is 0.04 to 0.1 inches (1 to 3 millimeters) across. These stars are green with darker markings.

Geographic range: Tropical brittle stars live all over the world.

Habitat: Tropical brittle stars live among algae and sponges and hide in reef crevices.

Diet: Tropical brittle stars eat small particles from the surface they live on or from the open water.

Behavior and reproduction: Tropical brittle stars use both sexual reproduction and splitting. When these brittle stars split, the body softens, forms a groove, and tears into jagged halves, which grow into new six-armed stars. Tropical brittle stars begin reproducing sexually when they are larger than 0.1 inch (3 millimeters) across. The larvae drift freely and feed on microscopic animals drifting in the water.

Tropical brittle stars live among algae and sponges and hide in reef crevices. (© DR & TL Schrichte/SeaPics.com)

Tropical brittle stars and people: Tropical brittle stars have no known importance to people.

Conservation status: Tropical brittle stars are not considered threatened or endangered. ∎



Lichen, Patricia K. Brittle Stars and Mudbugs: An Uncommon Field Guide to Northwest Shorelines and Wetlands. Seattle: Sasquatch, 2001.

Niesen, Thomas M. The Marine Biology Coloring Book. 2nd ed. New York: HarperResource, 2000.

Web sites:

"Class Ophiuroidea." Palaeos. http://www.palaeos.com/Invertebrates/Echinoderms/Ophiuroidea/Ophiuroidea.htm (accessed on February 28, 2005).

Morris, M., and D. Fautin. "Ophiuroidea." Animal Diversity Web. http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Ophiuroidea.html (accessed on February 28, 2005).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceJellyfish, Sponges, and Other Simple AnimalsBrittle and Basket Stars: Ophiuroidea - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Dwarf Brittle Star (amphipholis Squamata): Species Accounts, Tropical Brittle Star (ophiactis Savignyi): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, BASKE