Brittle Stars and Serpent Stars
Brittlestars bear some resemblance to starfish; they have a small disc and long, lashing arms, as active as a tiny octopus. They have an interesting habit of snaking along, humping themselves up and slithering out of rocky crevices, which is why they are often referred to as serpent stars.
E-1690 SERPENT STAR, Ophioderma brevispinum. When darkness falls, these small
bodied long armed ophiuroids slip out from beneath the rocks or sea weed, and propel themselves forward, twisting and writhing like small octopuses. A piece of fish dropped in the aquarium sends them into a frenzy of lashing arms, as they wrap themselves around the food, writhing and heaving until its devoured. Guaranteed to catch the attention of even the most bored, uninterested student.
E-1700 HAIRY BRITTLESTAR, Ophiothrix angulata. This colorful banded brittlestar lives in sponges and tunicates, rhythmically waving its arms in the current. Feeding can be easily observed since the disc is soft and shows peristaltic movements. Some may exhibit luminescence. Ophiothrix has long spines covering its arms, giving it a hairy appearance. It has tremendous variation in color patterns. Size: 2-3 cm.
E-1701 BASKET STARFISH Astrophyton muriatum. This living “spanish moss” of
starfish is found in deep water attached to sponges and rocks. At night it expands its net of tentacles to catch plankton in the water. They come in a great array of colors ranging from reds, oranges, white and black.