brittle stars text index | photo index
Phylum Echinodermata > Class Stellaroida > Subclass Ophiuroidea
Tiny in-a-sponge brittle stars
Ophiactis savignyi*
Family Ophioactidae
updated Oct 2016

Where seen? These tiny brittle stars are commonly seen in living Chocolate sponges (Spheciospongia cf. vagabunda) on many of our shores. They are sometimes also seen in other kinds of sponges.

Features: Whole animal 1-2cm. 5-6 arms. Arms banded with short spines lying flat arong the arms. Central disk rarely seen outside its hiding place. Sometimes, larger brittle stars with white arms are also seen in the same sponge. A single sponge may be home to lots of brittle stars, each hole in the sponge sheltering one tiny brittle star. With their arms waving out, the brittle stars give the submerged sponge a 'furry' look.

Sometimes confused with tiny brittle stars seen under stones and bristleworms. Here's more on how to tell apart bristleworms and brittle stars.

Baby brittle stars: This brittle star can reproduce sexually as well as asexually by division of the central disk, each half regenerating arms and other body parts to produce two new animals!



In a Chocolate sponge.
Chek Jawa, Jun 06

The arms of countless brittle stars
can make a sponge appear 'hairy'.

Outside the sponge?

Pulau Sekudu, Jun 05


Larger white brittle stars
among the tiny banded ones.
Pulau Sekudu, Jul 04

In a blue icing sponge.
Sisters Island, Sep 10

In a smooth brown sponge.
Sisters Island, Sep 10

*Species are difficult to positively identify without close examination.

On this website, they are grouped by external features for convenience of display

Tiny in-a-sponge brittle stars on Singapore shores

Photos of Tiny in-a-sponge brittle stars for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map


Terumbu Pempang Laut, May 15
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.
   

Filmed on Pulau Hantu on 12 Apr 09

condo sponge w brittlestars 12Apr2009 from SgBeachBum on Vimeo.


Links

References

  • Lane, David J.W. and Didier Vandenspiegel. 2003. A Guide to Sea Stars and Other Echinoderms of Singapore. Singapore Science Centre. 187pp.
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