New species of brittle star from Arabian Sea

Asteroschema sampadae

Phylum: Echinodermata

Class: Ophiuroidea Gray, 1840

Order: Euryalida Lamarck, 1816

Family: Asteroschematidae Verrill, 1899

Asteroschema sampadae Parameswaran & Abdul Jaleel, 2012

Collection: SE Arabian Sea slope, off Cape Comorin – 7º 10.02’N, 77º 19.21’E, 454m, 20.5.2007 (FORVSS 254, St. 1). Smith-McIntyre Grab.

Voucher No.: CMLRE IO/SS/ECD/00021 (FORV Referral Centre, CMLRE, Kochi)

Description: Disc diameter 2 cm, arms about 38-45 mm (21-23 times disc diameter). Disc and arms covered by skin with small, scattered, distinctly conical epidermal ossicles on aboral side and minute spherical granular ossicles on oral side. Conical ossicles bearing a crown of minute spinous terminal projections. Dorsal ornamentation not closely packed anywhere on the body so that large parts of the disc and arms are overlaid by naked skin; but epidermal ossicles somewhat more dense on radial shields and at base of arms. Two arm spines from fourth arm segment; inner spine larger and approximately one third of the arm segment length, becoming twice the length of the arm segment and bearing distinct thorny projections on the inner edge. Arm spines at the distal end of the arm are represented as small hook-shaped spines. Colour light fawn.

Biological association: Specimens were collected in association with a gorgonid of family Primnoidae.


Distribution: Continental slope off southern India (known only from type locality).


Map of northern Indian Ocean showing area of collection of Asteroschema sampadae

Identified by: Usha V. Parameswaran

Publication: Parameswaran, Usha V. and Abdul Jaleel K. U.  (2012) Asteroschema sampadae (Ophiuroidea: Asteroschematinae), A new deep-sea brittle star from the continental slope off the southern tip of India. Zootaxa, 3269: 47–56.

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