PORT PHILLIP BAY


Brittle Star 

Amphipholis squamata (Delle Chiaje, 1828)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

See below for information.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Echinodermata
Class:
Ophiuroidea
Order:
Ophiurida
Family:
Amphiuridae
Genus:
Amphipholis
Species:
squamata

General Description

Body (disc) covered with plates. Colour varies, including orange, grey or with spots. Disc up to 5 mm wide, arm up to 3 cm long.

Biology

These brittle stars have specialised cells along the arms (photocytes) that emit light (bioluminescence) when touched. When attacked, the animal can cast-off an arm and it wriggles away, glowing and luring the predator away. They can employ either deposit- or suspension-feeding, the latter being prevalent when there is water movement. Several arms are raised stiffy into the current, the arm spines become covered with mucus, and trapped food particles are removed by the tube feet. They brood young internally.

Habitat

Seaweed and rocky areas, to depths over 1,000 m.

Reefs

Distribution guide

Worldwide.

Species Group

Seastars and allies Brittle stars

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

5 mm

Diet

Omnivore

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

Species Code

MoV 663

Identify

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author O'Hara, T.

Dr. Tim O'Hara is a Senior Curator of marine invertebrates at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
O'Hara, T., 2011, Brittle Star, Amphipholis squamata, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 23 Nov 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/7783

Text: creative commons cc by licence