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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A little different

Remember the Glass-spined Brittle Star that was featured on 18 December 2016?

Well, we found one last weekend, but soon after Eric noticed a second brittle star and he knew right away that it looked a little different.  I snapped a quick picture of the two brittle stars side-by-side.  In the photo below, the Glass-spined Brittle Star is on the right.  Look for differences in the overall color; the patterns of banding along the arms; and the spines:


Eric managed to get a much better close-up of the second brittle star:


Meet the Flat-spined Brittle Star (Ophiopteris papillosa)!  Now you can see the distinctive arm spines opaque brown, smooth, with blunt (rounded) tips.

And lucky for us, Eric also filmed this brittle star in action.  Here's a short video clip.  Watch for the very active tube feet (below the spines).  Many brittle stars move by "rowing" with their arms.  Although this species uses its arms, you'll see that its tube feet also play an important role in locomotion.  [If you can't see the video clip below, click on the title of the post above to go directly to the website.]


3 comments:

cricket said...

i am amazed at how beautiful beings o the sea are!

... do you have a few recommendations for a photo picture book featuring beings of the sea including these very small ones as well ... that you and eric magnify and let us see their structure ... fascinating ...

also i know that you have many good illustrators on staff but when i have more time i would like to volunteer some time for drawing "your finds" if ever there is a need ... just wondering?

Hollis said...

Very cool to see the tube feet in action! (They're much more coordinated than I am) Thanks so much for sharing

Jackie Sones said...

Hi, Cricket and Hollis,

Thanks so much for your comments. Glad you liked this little brittle star!

Cricket -- if you're thinking about a picture book to use as a reference for illustrations, the first book that comes to mind is:

A Living Bay: The Underwater World of Monterey Bay (by the Langstroths)

There are others, but that would be an inspiring place to start!

:) Jackie