Smooth Brittle Star – Ophioderma longicauda


The Smooth Brittle Star, also known as the Snake Brittle Star or Brown Brittle Star, is a species in the class of the Ophiuroidea (Brittle Stars), and thus belongs to the phylum of the Echinodermata.

Smooth Brittle Star - Ophioderma longicauda Echinodermata species diving canary islands atlantic ocean canaries
Smooth Brittle Star – Ophioderma longicauda

Description

Ophioderma longicauda has a small round body with long thin arms and brownish-red colouration. It reaches up to 25cm in diameter, the body being a maximum of 2.5cm.

Habitat and Distribution

The Smooth Brittle Star lives in dark places, on rocky or sandy ground, down to 100m depth. When diving in the Canaries you can often see it. In addition, its distribution area extends in the eastern Atlantic from the Azores via Portugal, Spain, Madeira, along the African coast to Ghana. It is also widely spread in the Mediterranean Sea.

Biology

Ophioderma longicauda feeds on detritus and carrion. It is night active and hidden under stones and in columns during the day. In addition, thanks to its flexible arms it can move very quickly.
If an arm was bitten by a foe, this does not pose a problem, since they are regrowing.