Black Brittle Star

Black Brittle Star

  • Scientific name: Ophiocomina nigra
  • Size: Up to 15cm across
  • Distribution: Found all around UK waters, but more common along the northern and western coastlines. Also found throughout European waters.

The black brittle star is a species which is found around most of the UK. They can occasionally be found in the inter-tidal zone but are more common out to sea where they can be found down to depths of several hundred metres. This species has a spiky body which is usually dark brown to black in colour and a row of spines runs down the side of each of the five arms. Black brittle stars can be found in large numbers and often forms colonies with the common brittle star. They use their spiky arms to move around and can anchor themselves to rocks and withstand strong tidal flows. The feeding habits of this species are unclear, although it is thought that they use the spines and spikes on their arms to trap organic matter and tiny marine creatures they flow past.

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