Common Name: Little Brittle Star

Scientific Name: Ophiactis savignyi

 

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Echinodermata

Class: Ophiuroidea

Order: Opiuroidea

Family: Ophiuroids

Genus: Ophiactis

Species: O. savignyi

 

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Do you ever wonder what lives deep down under? Do you wonder what crawls across the sea floor?  Well one creature that does is a Little Brittle Star.  It Has many factors such as its five arms, radial shield, and small spines.

  A Little Brittle Star is brown to brown green, and cream in color and the radial shield disk is darker.  They have small spines that are scattered over the disk surface.  Little Brittle Stars range in size from 0.1-0.2 inches of their disk diameter, and 0.5-0.6 inches length of their arms.  They crawl across the seafloor using their flexible arms as “legs” for locomotion. 

Little Brittle Stars can be found in coral reefs, sea grass, and mangy rovers in depths of 500mi and below.  Some live in communities and in shallow waters as well.  They live with algae, corals, sponges, oysters, rubble, marine structures, and ship hulls.  Little Brittle Stars have adapted to tropical and subtropical marines, they live on slopes or shelves in the ocean sea.  There they hide under rocks.  You can find them living in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the Persian Gulf, and Mediterranean Sea.  The Little Brittle has 1,500 species living today and is not endangered, but very abundant.

They eat mainly the particles of rock in small materials.  They are suspension feeders and get their food by using their tube feet to catch the particles, which get moved towards their mouth.  It also can clean the outer surface of its habitat and can situate its self on an excurrent pore of a sponge; making them deposit feeders too  .The Little Brittle Star has many predators; such as fish, shrimp, and crabs.  Its defense is to cast off its limbs and escape while the predator is distracted.  But don’t worry, their limbs grow back.

Some interesting facts about them are that they are also known as serpent stars, and can live on sponges and algae.  They reproduce sexually (releasing its sperm or egg in the water, and it then reproduces with another floating around.) So as you have read the Little Brittle Star is an amazing creature that you don’t see every day.

Author: Bella H.

Date Published: 02/19/13

Sources:

Text is available under the creative commons Attribution-shareAlike License; last modified Feb.5,2013 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

 http://www.sms.si.edu/IRLFeild Guide/ophiac_savignhtm Brittle Star

Hags, J.2011”ophiactis Savignyi”(on-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed February 7, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Opiactis_Savignyi

 

Photo Credit: www. Wikiepedia.com