Black brittlestar (Ophiocomina nigra)
|Researched by||Penny Avant||Refereed by||Admin|
|Authority||(Abildgaard in O.F. Müller, 1789)|
|Other common names||-||Synonyms||-|
A dark-coloured brittlestar, with a round flattish central disc up to 2.5 cm in diameter. The five, thin, flexible arms are about five times the disc diameter in length. Down both sides of each arm is a row of short, erect spines, arranged like teeth on a comb. Ophiocomina nigra moves by means of mainly horizontal movements of the arms that push against the rocky substratum.
Recorded distribution in Britain and IrelandCommon around all British coasts apart from the southern North Sea, and all round the coast of Ireland.
Global distributionFound on coasts from West Norway south to the Azores and in the Mediterranean.
HabitatOphiocomina nigra is found on hard substrata, such as boulders, bedrock and gravel, on moderately exposed coasts with some water movement. It occurs from low water of spring tides to a depth of 400 m, although it appears to be rare below 100 m.
- Large brittlestar, usually dark brown or black in colour.
- The central disc is up to 2.5 cm in diameter and is round, flattish and smooth.
- Five, thin, flexible arms, well defined from the disc and about five times its diameter in length.
- A prominent row of small, erect spines down both sides of each arm.
Pale, almost white, specimens may occur in any population.
- none -
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Last Updated: 17/04/2008