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Ophiocomina nigra

(Abildgaard, in O.F. Müller, 1789)


Erling Svensen Some pictures from todays dive. On the pictures, Marthasterias glacialis, Psammechinus miliaris and Ophiocomina nigra.

Bernard Picton I like the pedicellariae. I've been taking some close-up photos of Echinoderms myself as those features are used in identification.

Message posted on Echinoderms of the NE Atlantic on 23 Oct 2013
Dylan Jones Is the brittlestar with yellow arms likey to be ophiothrix fragillis, ophiocomina nigra, something else or is it just impossible to say without seing the central disc ? (Seen in the menai straits)

George Brown Hi Dylan, Ophiocomina nigra. With Doris pseudoargus in the background.

Dylan Jones Thanks. I've never seen yellow ones anywhere other than the Menai.

George Brown Mmm, might take that back Dylan. Yellow legged O. nigra are often found in our sealochs but only yesterday I photographed, what I'm sure is a yellow legged O. fragilis! Will check further.

Lucy Kay I think this is an Ophiothrix fagilis based on the more untidy appearance of the leg spines (the spines are arranged quite neatly in O.nigra). I've seen this colour variety before in Scotland and Ireland but not in any great numbers.

Liz Morris Hi. I'd reckon O.fragilis too. Also, thanks George, I was umming and ahhing over that pseudoargus. Presumabely Archidoris has changed name to Doris? Im behind!!

Message posted on Seasearch North Wales on 23 Sep 2013
Cynthia D. Trowbridge We found a brittle star that seemed different than others we had seen for the last 12 years or so in Ireland. Unfortunately we did not get any more photos of it :-( and it was in our no-take sectors so we could not key it out. Could it be Ophiomyxa pentagona? I welcome your thoughts?

Sabine Stöhr Unfortunately, the image is not good enough for an id. It seems to me that it has granules on the disc, rubbed of in a couple of spots. A wild guess would be Ophiocomina nigra with some kind of colour abnormality. Ophiomyxa pentagona is endemic to the Mediterranean in my mind. I would really need to see the mouth parts for a better guess.

Sabine Stöhr O. nigra has an astonishing colour variation from dark brown to orange yellow (Fontaine 1962). See the abstract here http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=4230496

Cynthia D. Trowbridge WOW.... thank you so much for the link. Thank you also for your insightful comments in FB and email :-)

Message posted on Echinoderms of the NE Atlantic on 01 Jan 2013
Andy Horton Does anybody know their Brittlestars please? I don't because until now I never found one intertidally (Sussex) that was big enough for ID.

Christopher L. Mah Looks like Ophiothrix. I'd need to check on which species lives in your area. But maybe O. fragilis? http://www.marlin.ac.uk/speciesfullreview.php?speciesID=3976

Sabine Stöhr At first I thought Ophiocomina nigra, because it is so dark. But I think I see large radial shields and the ventral side is banded. So I think Chris is right and this is Ophiothrix fragilis. They can occur in huge aggregations and curiously the newly metamorphosed postlarvae seek out these aggregations and settle on the adults. This is not brooding, but some kind of aggregating behaviour where juveniles find protection among the spines of adults that are not (necessarily) their parents.

Message posted on Echinoderms of the NE Atlantic on 05 Jun 2012
Dylan Jones Is the brittlestar with yellow arms likey to be ophiothrix fragillis, ophiocomina nigra, something else or is it just impossible to say without seing the central disc ? (Seen in the menai straits)

George Brown Hi Dylan, Ophiocomina nigra. With Doris pseudoargus in the background.

Dylan Jones Thanks. I've never seen yellow ones anywhere other than the Menai.

George Brown Mmm, might take that back Dylan. Yellow legged O. nigra are often found in our sealochs but only yesterday I photographed, what I'm sure is a yellow legged O. fragilis! Will check further.

Lucy Kay I think this is an Ophiothrix fagilis based on the more untidy appearance of the leg spines (the spines are arranged quite neatly in O.nigra). I've seen this colour variety before in Scotland and Ireland but not in any great numbers.

Liz Morris Hi. I'd reckon O.fragilis too. Also, thanks George, I was umming and ahhing over that pseudoargus. Presumabely Archidoris has changed name to Doris? Im behind!!

Message posted on Seasearch North Wales on 23 Sep 2013
Holly Latham Confirmation of the pale brittlestar... Ophiocomina nigra?

Might just be an albinos Ophiothrix fragilis

Holly Latham Hmmm... thoughts were - spines to short relative to arm width and disc is smooth. We have found Ophiocomina nigra (including in this bed)

Could be an albino nigra, certainly a fact that both species coexist in Strangford. Where there any typical black versions in the same bed

Holly Latham Yes, there was quite a mix with black and dark brown morphs...

You are probably right then given the spine diagnostic. We take these beds for granted but in world terms NE Atlantic brittle star beds are quite a unique/rare habitat

Colin Munro Spines do look very neat and even for O fragilis, much more like O nigra. Very nice.

Claire Goodwin Not sure why it's not showing up here but I think this is Ophiopholis aculeata (see album comments).

Bernard Picton Ophiopholis aculeata is a species which seems to have dramatically declined in Northern Ireland since the 1980 Northern Ireland Sublittoral Survey. It might be a very good species to monitor as a climate change indicator.

George Brown Ophiopholis aculeata is fairly common in Loch Duich but rarely caught out in the open the way Holly has photographed it.

Bernard Picton They used to be common in the open in some parts of Northern Ireland, especially in the Modiolus modiolus (Horse mussel) beds in Strangford Lough. We just don't know how much climate change has affected that habitat as it was simultaneously trashed by the Queen Scallop fishery...

Holly Latham Thank you... will now be going to take a closer look at the original image! :)

Message posted on Seasearch Identifications on 05 Feb 2013
Holly Latham Confirmation of the pale brittlestar... Ophiocomina nigra?

Might just be an albinos Ophiothrix fragilis

Holly Latham Hmmm... thoughts were - spines to short relative to arm width and disc is smooth. We have found Ophiocomina nigra (including in this bed)

Could be an albino nigra, certainly a fact that both species coexist in Strangford. Where there any typical black versions in the same bed

Holly Latham Yes, there was quite a mix with black and dark brown morphs...

You are probably right then given the spine diagnostic. We take these beds for granted but in world terms NE Atlantic brittle star beds are quite a unique/rare habitat

Colin Munro Spines do look very neat and even for O fragilis, much more like O nigra. Very nice.

Claire Goodwin Not sure why it's not showing up here but I think this is Ophiopholis aculeata (see album comments).

Bernard Picton Ophiopholis aculeata is a species which seems to have dramatically declined in Northern Ireland since the 1980 Northern Ireland Sublittoral Survey. It might be a very good species to monitor as a climate change indicator.

George Brown Ophiopholis aculeata is fairly common in Loch Duich but rarely caught out in the open the way Holly has photographed it.

Bernard Picton They used to be common in the open in some parts of Northern Ireland, especially in the Modiolus modiolus (Horse mussel) beds in Strangford Lough. We just don't know how much climate change has affected that habitat as it was simultaneously trashed by the Queen Scallop fishery...

Holly Latham Thank you... will now be going to take a closer look at the original image! :)

Message posted on Seasearch Identifications on 05 Feb 2013
Taxonomy
Animalia (Kingdom)
  Echinodermata (Phylum)
    Asterozoa (Subphylum)
      Ophiuroidea (Class)
        Ophiurida (Order)
          Ophiurina (Suborder)
            Gnathophiurina (Infraorder)
              Ophiocomidae (Family)
                Ophiocominae (Subfamily)
                  Ophiocomina (Genus)
                    Ophiocomina nigra (Species)
Associated Species