Bristleworm or star?
how to tell them apart
updated Apr 2020

Bristleworms are worms that are very bristley.

Brittle stars have bristley arms, usually five arms sometimes more or less. The arms are connected to a central disk that is usually well hidden. With only the arms sticking out, brittle star arms can be confused for bristleworms.

Feather stars also have bristely arms. While brittle stars generally have five arms, feather stars can have 10 or more arms. Feather stars are not as commonly seen as brittle stars.

Broader pink thing is a bristleworm,
narrower banded thing is an arm of a brittlestar.

Tiny brittle stars may be found under stones. They are sometimes also
mistaken for bristleworms.

Tiny brittle stars may live in a sponge.
Only their arms stick out, so they are often mistaken for bristleworms.

More comparisons

The long spiny arms are often all you will see of large brittle stars while their
central disk remains hidden.

These reef bristleworms are also
often found under stones.

Feather stars have many bristley arms and a central disk.

Bristleworms don't have a central disk.

The blue dragon nudibranch is a soft slug with finger-like extensions along the body.

Feather stars have many bristley arms and a central disk.
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