|ECHINODERMATA : OPHIURIDA : Ophiocomidae||STARFISH, SEA URCHINS, ETC.|
Description: A large brittle star with long banded arms which lives in crevices. The arms are banded with light and dark brown and there is a reticulate mottled pattern of brown on the disc. The arm spines are flattened and arranged in groups of 6-8. The tentacle scales are shorter than those of Ophiopsila annulosa but still exceptionally large. Disc 10mm. arms 9x disc diameter.
Habitat: Lives in crevices and extends the long arms out into the water. At the Mewstone these crevices are in bedded shales.
Distribution: Apparently rare in the British Isles, recorded from the Mewstone near Plymouth where it is locally abundant. Also known from the west coast of Ireland.
Similar Species: Ophiopsila annulosa is similar but larger and more robust with more arm spines at each joint and a different habitat. Ophiothrix fragilis may adopt a similar habit of extending its arms from crevices and is much commoner.
Key Identification Features:
Distribution Map from BioMar data for Ireland - Google Earth map: download this placemark (not got Google Earth installed?)
Distribution Map from NBN: JNCC MNCR Seasearch data - Grid map : Interactive map : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.
|Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C., 2010. [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland |
|Copyright © National Museums of Northern Ireland, 2002-2013|