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 Ophiopsila aranea are a red/brown colour and covered in tiny white spots. Extending from a central disc are five radial arms. The disc diameter can reach 15 mm, has no scales and is slightly granular. The arms are proportional to the disc, being approximately seven times the diameter. The arms are formed from small, straight and separate radial shields and are rounded towards the tips. Along each side of each arm are six to eight spines. The dorsal plates of the elongated arms are oval in shape and the ventral plates have slightly concave outer edges. There are two mouth papillae (teeth) on each side of the jaw which curve slightly outwards.Both the disc and arms of very fragile and can be easily dislocated. Ophiopsila aranea are commonly found in crevices with the long arms protruding out into water.

 Ophiopsila aranea may be easily confused with the similar looking Ophiopsila annulosa, which has 11-12 spines on each side of each arm.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

©  The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Source: Marine Life Information Network

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