Common Brittle Star Ophiothrix fragilis

Common Brittle Star
Common Brittle Star
Common Brittle Star
The Common Brittle Star is native to rocky coasts of the eastern Atlantic from Iceland and the North Sea via the Mediterranean and Atlantic Islands to southern Africa (where it is called the Hairy Brittle Star). The fragilis part of the name refers to the spindly brittle arms which can easily be broken. Colour and patterns of both disc and arms varies; they can be banded, spotted or plain and can be red, yellow, brown, grey, purple, pink or violet. The central disc is about 1 cm across. It has five spindly arms with white spines; each arm can grow to some 5cm long. It is a scavenger of detritus and can often be found in large colonies of thousands, sometimes including the Black Brittle Star. A week after spawning, larvae drift with plankton for a few weeks before settling.