Basket stars employ intricately branched arms to ensnare drifting plankton
Brittle stars have very fragile-looking, worm-like arms. Brittle stars and basket stars are echinoderms that belong to the Class Ophiuroidea, which contains thousands of species. These animals are sometimes referred to as ophiuroids.
The coral reef consists of many animals including brittle stars (a type of star fish) and sponges. Adrienne Rodriguez-Keenan via Karen Haines onto Absolutely Natural Show Us The Love Pinterest contest 2013
The brittle star branches off into a unique class called the Ophiuroidea – meaning ‘snake like’ in reference to the motion of the arms. The fragile, feathered looking arms are easily broken off, but can regenerate within just a few days to weeks. The tube feet of the brittle stars are dangerously pointed, and instead of using suction-mediated movement they move their arms in a rowing stroke fashion to travel across water.
Flat-spined Brittle Star (Ophiopteris papillosa). Jackie Sones (Spineless Studios).