Sand burrowing brittlestar (Acrocnida brachiata)
|Researched by||Morvan Barnes||Refereed by||Admin|
|Other common names||-||Synonyms||Amphiura brachiata (Montagu, 1804)|
Acrocnida brachiata displays the characteristic brittle star body plan with a flat central disc and five distinctly demarcated thin arms. As a member of the order Ophiurida, its arms are usually moved horizontally and the discs and arms are covered with scales. The circular disc can reach 12 mm in diameter and it has very long, thin and flexible arms. Like similar species, it has only one outer mouth papilla, clearly detached from the infradental papillae. It can be differentiated by the presence of two tentacle scales, ventral scales and radial shields with a transverse furrow. It is brown-grey in colour.
Recorded distribution in Britain and IrelandFound throughout the coastal waters of the British Isles and Ireland.
HabitatAcrocnida brachiata is a littoral and sublittoral benthic species usually found buried in fine sand down to a depth of 40 m.
- Circular disc up to 12 mm in diameter.
- Long, thin arms up to 18 cm in length.
- One outer mouth papilla detached from paired papillae within the mouth.
- Numerous arm spines and two tentacle scales.
- Ventral scales with a small tubercle.
- Transverse furrow on the large shields at the basw of the arms.
Acrocnida brachiata is well known to bury itself in sand with only the distal parts of the arms sticking out but is also often associated with Echinocardium cordatum.
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OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System), 2023. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2023-11-30
South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre, 2018. SEWBReC Marine and other Aquatic Invertebrates (South East Wales). Occurrence dataset:https://doi.org/10.15468/zxy1n6 accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.
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Last Updated: 22/05/2008