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Commonly Asked Questions

Species at Georgia Aquarium
  • Ophioderma brevispinum: short-spine brittle star – Caribbean, up to 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter.
  • Ophiocoma echinata: spiny/black brittle star – Caribbean, up to 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter.
  • Ophiarachna incrassata: green and gold brittle star – Indo-Pacific, up to 20 inches (50 cm) in diameter.

Range / Habitat

  • Occur in ecosystems throughout the world’s oceans.

Physical Characteristics

  • Body consists of a clearly defined circular or pentagonal central disk surrounded by five long, slender arms.

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet typically consists of plants, algae, fish feces and detritus.
  • Nocturnal scavengers.

Reproduction / Growth

  • Most species reproduce externally through spawning. A minority of brittle stars reproduce in other ways:
    • Some reproduce sexually and will brood their young until the juveniles grow large enough to crawl away.
    • Others reproduce asexually through a process called fission, in which individuals split in half and regenerate missing body parts.

Conservation Status

  • “Not Evaluated” on IUCN Red List.

Sources

Sea Stars, Sea Urchins, and Allies. Hendler, Miller, et al.