Daisy Brittle Star, Ophiopholis aculeata
The daisy (or mottled) brittle star,
Ophiopholis aculeata, is circumpolar, ranging from Point
Barrow, Alaska, to Santa Barbara, California.
It occurs from the intertidal zone down to 2,000 meters where it prefers a
fairly strong current. They are difficult to find because of their nocturnal
behavior but live in communities of sponges, bryozoans, encrusting coralline
algae, and in areas with rocks and shell debris for protection. Daisy brittle
stars capture prey in the water column with their tube feet or by picking
detritus off the bottom. They bring the food from their rays to their mouths in
the center of their discs. Legs are regenerative.
Scientific name: Greek Ophi (belonging to, or
like a serpent, snake), pholis (a horny scale, armed with scales), and
(furnished with spines or prickles).
Digital photo by Jan Haaga. References (a complete list) in the text include
O'Clair (1998), Gotshall (1994), Kessler (1985) or Barr (1983).