ophionereis

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Reticulated Brittle Star (Ophionereis reticulata)

…a species of ophionereidid brittle star that inhabits the shallow waters of the Western Atlantic, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Like other brittle stars O. reticulata is a herbivore and filter feeder, feeding mainly on red/green algae and diatoms. These food items are caught by the star raising its arms into the water current (while keeping its disc concealed) and catching passing ‘prey’. Unlike other brittle stars O. reticulata uses its tube feet in locomotion. Its tube feet are long and pointed and when in movement are raised from the sea bed allowing the star to move at speeds of 50 cm per minute.

Classification

Animalia-Echinodermata-Ophiuroidea-Ophiurida-Ophiurina-Ophionereididae-Ophionereis-O. reticulata

Images: Larry Zetwoch and Rommel Notini