Brittle Star

Ophiothrix fragilis
Brittle Star

Habitat: Rocky shore, kelp forest, rocky reef and sea bed
Depth: 0-200m
Food: Detritus – dead animal matter
Length: Up to 10cm across
Lifespan: Unknown
Conservation Status: Data Deficient (DD)

Related to starfish, brittle stars have a central disc with long thin arms radiating from it. The arms have many spines and tube feet and they use these to catch plankton or detritus passing on the water currents. As the name suggests, the arms are easily broken but grow back quickly. Brittle stars can live together in high numbers – in some places up to 10,000 in one square metre!

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