brittle stars text index | photo index
Phylum Echinodermata > Class Stellaroida > Subclass Ophiuroidea
Very long-armed brittle star
Macrophiothrix longipeda
Family Ophiotrichidae
updated Apr 2020

Where seen? This brittle star indeed has very long flat arms! It is often encountered among coral rubble and under stones at night on many of our shores. Usually, all that can be seen is a small part of its very long arms, while the central disk remains safely hidden in a crevice. The arms retract rapidly when disturbed. It was previously known as Ophiothrix longipeda.

Ocassionally one might be seen outside its hiding place. Sometimes upside down in a tangle of its own arms. It's still not certain what this behaviour is about. But as soon as light falls on one, it will rapidly disappear into its hiding place.

Features:
Disk diameter about 1-2cm, arms about 20-30cm long and about 2cm broad. Disk thick and pentagonal. The very long arms are flat, generally of uniform width throughout, with long flat spines held flattened along the sides (not like a bottlebrush). Large long translucent tube feet emerge from the underside of the arms. The arms sometimes have a faint banded pattern. Generally beige or bluish.

Sometimes confused with the Blue lined brittle star which also has very long arms. But it has blue lines along the arms and its spines are more cylindrical.

What does it eat? It feeds on suspended particles and to some extent, also scavenges on dead animals.

Upperside of central disk.
Chek Jawa, Jun 05

Broad flat arm with flat spines
and long tube feet from the underside.

Disappears rapidly when disturbed.
Pulau Sekudu, Jul 06

Pulau Sekudu, Apr 06

Underside.

Very long-armed brittle stars on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores


Pasir Ris Park, May 19
Photo shared by Jesselyn Chua on facebook.

Chek Jawa, Jul 18
Photo shared by Jianlin Liu on facebook.


East Coast, Aug 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

East Coast Park, May 21
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.


Berlayar Creek, Oct 15
Photo shared by Jonathan Tan on facebook.

Labrador, Aug 17
Photo shared by Jianlin Liu on facebook.

Sentosa Serapong, May 12
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.


Cyrene Reef, Sep 10
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Cyrene Reef, Aug 10
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on his flickr.

Cyrene Reef, Feb 20
Photo shared by Leon Tan on facebook.


Terumbu Bemban, May 21
Photo shared by Vincent Choo on facebook.

Beting Bemban Besar, Jun 21
Photo shared by Vincent Choo on facebook.


Sisters Island, Jan 10

Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.

Pulau Tekukor, May 10

Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Pulau Tekukor, May 10

Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.


Terumbu Pempang Tengah, May 11

Photo shared by Liana Tang on facebook.

Terumbu Selegie, Jun 11

Photo shared by Russel Low on facebook.

Pulau Berkas, Feb 22
Photo shared by Vincent Choo on facebook.

Terumbu Pempang Laut, Jul 20

Links

References

  • Lane, David J.W. and Didier Vandenspiegel. 2003. A Guide to Sea Stars and Other Echinoderms of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 187pp.
links | references | about | email Ria
Spot errors? Have a question? Want to share your sightings? email Ria I'll be glad to hear from you!
wildfactsheets website©ria tan 2008