Dark Red-spined Brittle Star (Ophiothrix purpurea)

Also known as Brittle Sea Star, Brittle Star, Purple Brittle Star, Purple Brittle Sea Star, Sea Fan Brittle Star, Serpent Star, Snake Star, Spined Brittle Star, Starfish

Description

Also known as Brittle Sea Star, Brittle Star, Purple Brittle Star, Purple Brittle Sea Star, Sea Fan Brittle Star, Serpent Star, Snake Star, Spined Brittle Star, Starfish.

Found entwined in corals, gorgonians and sponges or in this case on another sea star over coral and rocky reefs. Long arms covered in soft spikes, looks like a toilet brush!
They feed on detritus and plankton.
Length - 15cm
Depth - 0-1000m
Widespread Indo-Pacific

Sea Stars have remarkable regenerative powers, when attacked and damaged by predators they are able to grow new arms. They usually have five arms but have been found with 4 or 6 arms, this may be because more than one arm has been damaged at one time!
They possess a cleverly evolved arsenal of hydraulic tube feet connected to an elaborate water-vascular system that encircles the animal's mouth and extends via five radial canals down the centre of each arm.
Their mouth is underneath, but their prey is absorbed outside their mouths by forcing out their digestive organs from their stomach.
Sea Stars are carnivores and feed on almost any food including molluscs, worms, detritus and each other!
Some sea stars like the crown of thorns can be venomous. Ref: x

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