Animal of the Week: Brittle Star

SO… I was thinking of doing a post every Wednesday to talk about a marine animal. If you have any ideas for what I should call that day. Let me know.

First up, is the Brittle Star. The scientific name is Ophiuroidea; they are closely related to the starfish. They live in at all depths in the ocean from the surface to 6000 meters. There are over 2,000 species of Brittle Stars, and most species live in waters deeper than 200 meters.

Their mouth is rimmed with five jaws and serves as an anus as well. Pretty cool. Most Brittle Stars live up to 5 years old; they sexually mature around 2 to 3 years.

One thing that Sea Stars and Brittle Stars are famous for is the regeneration. They can regenerate their arms unless they loose their whole arm. The discarded arm can not regenerate though. But fission can happen with six armed Brittle Stars. It takes 89 days to have a successful division, so in a year they can reproduce from fission 15 new individuals.

Last fun fact, over 60 species have been known to be bioluminescent! Basically, glow in the dark!! I will do a post on bioluminescence.

I found this guy on a large piece of trash in the middle of the ocean. My team and I decided to grab the large rope ball, and with it came some of these Brittle Stars!


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