Brittlestar

Ophiothrix fraglis

About

Brittlestars have a rounded, disk-like body, with five very long, thin, spiny arms each up to 10cm long. They live on the seafloor, using their long legs to filter feed: they raise them up off the floor and catch plankton and detritus which are then fed back towards the mouth.

How to identify

There are several similar species of brittlestar found in British seas, which can be difficult to tell apart. The Common Brittlestar is usually purplish-brown with paler bands on the arms. As the name suggests, the arms are easily broken off.

Where to find it

Found all around our coasts.

Habitats

When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Our seas and coastline are in need of protection if we are to keep our marine wildlife healthy. The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. This work has recently had a massive boost with the passing of the Marine Bill, promising sustainable development of the UK's marine environment. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust. You can also help by reporting your sightings to Devon Wildlife Trust or to the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre.

Species information

Common name
Brittlestar
Latin name
Ophiothrix fraglis
Category
Urchins and starfish
Statistics
Diameter: up to 2cm Average Lifespan: 10 years
Conservation status
Common.