The Life of a Brittle Starfish

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The Life of a Brittle Starfish The type of marine organism, which will be reported on within the following text, is the Brittle Stars. The Brittle Star is also called the serpent star and a common name for a large group of echinoderms closely related to the starfish. These organisms make up the class Ophiuroidea; another common name for ophiuroidea is snake stars. These organisms can be found in all oceans but are more abundant in the Tropics. Brittle stars can come in different colors. 2.0 General Features Their bodies have a central disk that is demarcated from five arms, unlike true starfish. Their five arms can be broken off quite easily, but will regenerate themselves. These arms are usually forked and spiny. The brittle star includes about 2000 species, and the arms are about 20 cm in length. The central disk is about 1 inch across. Unlike the traditional starfish which uses tube feet to crawl and attach itself to objects. The brittle starfish uses his tube feet to breathe and to bring food to it's mouth, they do not use the tube feet as a suction mechanism. The brittle starfish moves their arms to swim and crawl. The brittle starfish contains a mouth on the underside of its body and their tube feet are mainly used as sense organs for detecting light and odor. The most common type of brittle star is the long-armed type, which is a grayish or bluish species that is luminescent. Brittle stars with many branched arms are called basket stars. Some brittle stars may reproduce by breaking across the middle of the body disk, with each of the halves growing it's missing half and corresponding arms. Brittle stars lack open groves on the lower surface of their arms. Each arm contains a series of jointed bonelike plates, or ... ... middle of paper ... ...e remaining arms to hold on to another brittle star so that it won't be swept away. Who would have thought that the brittle starfish could be so complex? Bibliography: 1. "Introduction to the Asteroidea"*http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/echinodermata/asteroidea.html* (18 Oct 2000). 2. "The Ophiuroidea". *http://home.att.net/~ophiuroid/home.html* (18 Oct 2000). 3. "Introduction to the Echinodermata"*http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/echinodermata/echinodermata.html* (18 Oct 2000). 4. "The Echinodermata". *http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/users/gregory/echinodermata.html* (18 Oct 2000). 5. "Brittle Star". *http://lycoskids.infoplease.com/ce5/CE007562.html* (23 Oct 2000). 6. "The Ophiuroidea". *http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/echinodermata/ophiuroidea.html* (23 Oct 2000). 7. "The Brittle Star".*http://lycos.infoplease.com/ce5/CE007562.html* (23 Oct 2000)

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