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.
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.
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.