First record of brittle star from the Indian Ocean

Ophiopsammus aequalis

Phylum: Echinodermata

Class: Ophiuroidea Gray, 1840

Order: Ophiacanthida O’Hara, Hugall, Thuy, Stöhr & Martynov, 2017

Family: Ophiodermatidae Ljungman, 1867

Ophiopsammus aequalis (Lyman, 1880)

Collection: Andaman & Nicobar Islands — Off Katchall Island, 8° 00.45’ N, 93° 16.82’ E, 94 m (FORVSS261, St.35B), 24.01.2009, dredge.

Voucher No.: CMLRE IO/SS/ECD/00256.

Description: Disc pentagonal, arms long and delicate, about 6 times disc diameter. Disc scales flat and thin; radial shields small, ovate; entire disc, except oral shields, covered by rounded granules. Marginal disc scales distinguishable, but not convex; numbering 9–11 in each interradius; middle scale largest. A conspicuous notch at the junction of arms and disc. Up to eight papillae along each side of the jaw. Dorsal arm plates much wider than long, strongly carinate, with straight proximal and ventral margins. Arms spines short and pointed, less than half the length of lateral arm plate; numbering 7–8; the dorsal-most spine shorter than the rest, the ventral-most is longer and broader. Reticulate markings of pale and dark salmon on the dorsal disc; broad, transverse light and dark salmon markings on the arms dorsally; ventral side uniformly off-white.

Biological association: None.

Remarks: None.

Distribution: India: Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Indonesia, Australia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu; 94–1470 m.

Distribution map:


Identified by: Usha V. Parameswaran

Publication: Parameswaran U. V., Gopal A., Abdul Jaleel K. U., Saravanane N. 2021. Nine new records of brittle stars (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) from Indian waters. Marine Biology Research, 17(5-6): 434-453. DOI: 10.1080/17451000.2021.1967995.

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