Overview

Brief Summary

The genus Ophiura is part of the lager family Ophiuridae, which is a diverse group containing more than 2000 species, most found at depth (Stöhr et al. 2012).  They range in size from 2 to 10 cm, prefer living on muddy substrates, and have a worldwide distribution (Guille et al., 1986).  They feed mostly on detritus and phytoplankton, but some are predatory and feed on epibenthic or infaunal organisms (Woodley, 1975; Boos et al., 2010; Stöhr et al. 2012).  The geneal ophiuroid body plan consists of a central disc, which is usually pentagonal to round in shape, and generally five arms that are offset from the disc (Stöhr et al. 2012).  Many members of the genus Ophiura have pairs of scales where the disc meets the arms (Forbes, 1843).  However, several species deverge from this body plan.

Unlike their closely related relatives, the seastars, they do not rely on tube feet for locomotion.  Instead, they use their arms to push or pull sediment in order to propel themselves forward (Stöhr et al. 2012).  Also unlike seastars, they have jaws closing their mouth area.  The number of jaw plates corresponds to the number of legs, and have been hypothesized to have evolved from abulacral plates (Hendler, 1988; Stöhr et al. 2012).

Ophiura get their name from the greek work ophis meaning serpent and oura meaning tail.  This is in reference to their snake-like arms.  Their common name, brittle star, comes from their fragile nature, and can easily fragment when they are stressed (Stöhr & O'Hara, personal observation).

  • Boos K, Gutow L, Mundry R, Franke H-D. 2010. Sediment preference and burrowing behaviour in the sympatric brittlestars Ophiura albida Forbes, 1839 and Ophiura ophiura (Linnaeus, 1758) (Ophiuroidea, Echinodermata). Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 393: 176–181.
  • Forbes E. 1843. On the radiata of the eastern Mediterranean. Part 1., Ophiuridae. Transactions of the Linnean Society of London 19, 143-153.
  • Guille A, Laboute P, Menou JL. 1986. Handbook of the sea-stars, sea-urchins and related echinoderms of New-Caledonia lagoon. Paris: ORSTOM. p 238.
  • Hendler G. 1988. Ophiuroid skeleton ontogeny reveals homologies among skeletal plates of adults: a study of Amphiura filiformis, Amphiura stimpsonii and Ophiophragmus filograneus (Echinodermata). Biological Bulletin 174: 20–29.
  • Stöhr S, O'Hara TD, Thuy B. 2012. Global diversity of brittle stars (echinodermata: Ophiuroidea). PLOS Collections doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031940
  • Woodley JD. 1975. The behaviour of some amphiurid brittle stars. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 18: 29–46.
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Ecology

Habitat

Known from seamounts and knolls
  • Stocks, K. 2009. Seamounts Online: an online information system for seamount biology. Version 2009-1. World Wide Web electronic publication.
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Source: World Register of Marine Species

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Depth range based on 1 specimen in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1 sample.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 2748.5 - 2748.5
  Temperature range (°C): -0.265 - -0.265
  Nitrate (umol/L): 33.052 - 33.052
  Salinity (PPS): 34.659 - 34.659
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.370 - 5.370
  Phosphate (umol/l): 2.325 - 2.325
  Silicate (umol/l): 126.953 - 126.953
 
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Depth range based on 2 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 2 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 2748.5 - 5741.5
  Temperature range (°C): -0.265 - 0.284
  Nitrate (umol/L): 33.052 - 33.296
  Salinity (PPS): 34.659 - 34.674
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.141 - 5.370
  Phosphate (umol/l): 2.325 - 2.346
  Silicate (umol/l): 124.993 - 126.953

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 2748.5 - 5741.5

Temperature range (°C): -0.265 - 0.284

Nitrate (umol/L): 33.052 - 33.296

Salinity (PPS): 34.659 - 34.674

Oxygen (ml/l): 5.141 - 5.370

Phosphate (umol/l): 2.325 - 2.346

Silicate (umol/l): 124.993 - 126.953
 
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Depth range based on 3 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 3 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 2196 - 2487
  Temperature range (°C): 1.894 - 2.303
  Nitrate (umol/L): 38.783 - 41.943
  Salinity (PPS): 34.657 - 34.672
  Oxygen (ml/l): 2.211 - 2.785
  Phosphate (umol/l): 2.764 - 2.936
  Silicate (umol/l): 146.729 - 154.245

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 2196 - 2487

Temperature range (°C): 1.894 - 2.303

Nitrate (umol/L): 38.783 - 41.943

Salinity (PPS): 34.657 - 34.672

Oxygen (ml/l): 2.211 - 2.785

Phosphate (umol/l): 2.764 - 2.936

Silicate (umol/l): 146.729 - 154.245
 
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Depth range based on 15 specimens in 4 taxa.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 15 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 1244 - 2860
  Temperature range (°C): 2.584 - 4.789
  Nitrate (umol/L): 17.853 - 44.820
  Salinity (PPS): 34.560 - 35.130
  Oxygen (ml/l): 0.601 - 6.075
  Phosphate (umol/l): 1.222 - 3.499
  Silicate (umol/l): 16.455 - 143.788

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 1244 - 2860

Temperature range (°C): 2.584 - 4.789

Nitrate (umol/L): 17.853 - 44.820

Salinity (PPS): 34.560 - 35.130

Oxygen (ml/l): 0.601 - 6.075

Phosphate (umol/l): 1.222 - 3.499

Silicate (umol/l): 16.455 - 143.788
 
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records: 673
Specimens with Sequences: 511
Specimens with Barcodes: 499
Species: 50
Species With Barcodes: 41
Public Records: 195
Public Species: 27
Public BINs: 42
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ophiura cf. flagellata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ophiura cf. integra

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ophiura cf. figurata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ophiura cf. ambigua

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ophiura cf. irrorata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ophiura integra

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 9
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ophiura figurata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ophiura cf. enticularis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ophiura cf. lenticularis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Barcode data

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Genomic DNA is available from 1 specimen
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© Ocean Genome Legacy

Source: Ocean Genome Resource

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Genomic DNA is available from 2 specimens
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© Ocean Genome Legacy

Source: Ocean Genome Resource

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Genomic DNA is available from 1 specimen
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© Ocean Genome Legacy

Source: Ocean Genome Resource

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Genomic DNA is available from 1 specimen with morphological vouchers housed at University of Connecticut, Avery Point
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Source: Ocean Genome Resource

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Genomic DNA is available from 3 specimens with morphological vouchers housed at University of Connecticut, Avery Point
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Source: Ocean Genome Resource

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