ECHINODERMATA : OPHIURIDA : OphiactidaeSTARFISH, SEA URCHINS, ETC.

Ophiopholis aculeata (Linnaeus, 1767)


Description: A large brittle star with twisted arms which are conspicuously banded. The disc is covered with large plates separated by small granules and the dorsal surface of the arm has a single series of oval plates along its midline each surrounded by a ring of smaller plates. There are 4-5 robust conical arm spines and a single tentacle scale. Disc 15mm. arms 4x disc diameter.

Habitat: Characteristically found in crevices or borings in rock with just the arms projecting.

Distribution: Widely distributed around the British Isles but commoner in the north. Reaches the southern limit of its distribution in the English Channel.

Similar Species: Ophiactis balli is similar but smaller.

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: Grid map (fast) : Interactive map (slow, requires login to view records) : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.


 Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C., 2010. [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland
http://www.habitas.org.uk/marinelife/species.asp?item=ZB2780

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