Black Brittle Sea StarZach FedewaScientific Name: Ophiothrix spiculata
external image Black_Brittle_ps.jpgVideo of Black Brittle Sea Star
Photo of Black Brittle Sea Star
http://www.bluezooaquatics.com/images/products/Invertebrates/large/Black_Brittle_ps.jpg http://www.wikispaces.com/site/embedthumbnail/youtube/6WrglBuWSK4?h=385&w=467

Classification
Eukarya, Animalia, Echinodermata, Ophiuroidea, Ophiueida, Ophiodermatidae, Ophiothrix, Spiculata

Growth and Development
This sea star can get up to 25mm in diameter and about five arms of about 5 times that length. Sea stars can live from 5-20 years. Starfish release their gametes into the ocean, where they mix with the gametes from starfish of the opposite sex. To increase the fertilization rates, they often are gathered in groups when they are ready to spawn. They coordinate this through environmental and chemical signals. In the embryonic stage, they become part of zoo plankton in the sea. After that, they grow into first stage larva called bipinnaria. They eventually start swimming by beating their cillia together. When the sea stars are big enough, they move to the ocean floor to mature.

Movement
The sea star uses its cillia on the bottom of their appendages to move by beating them together.

Reproduction
Starfish reproduce asexually. The female and male release gametes out into the ocean when they form in large groups. They then mix together and become zoo plankton. After they reach the first stage of development, they float down to the sea floor to mature.

Energy
Starfish eat a variety of things including, mussles, clams, oysters, or even dying fish. They will eat mostly bivalves. Starfish actually use their appendages to search for food on the sea floor. The stomach comes OUT of its body through a hole in the center of it. It goes into the prey and eats it from the inside out.

Ecology
Often found living in association with another brittle star. It is usually seen in the eastern Atlantic Ocean from Norway south to the Azores. It can also be found in the North Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The sea star has a central mouth on the bottom in the middle of the organism. The feeding apparatus is known as the Aristotle's lantern with five toothed jaws on each with oval jaw plates.

Adaptations/Evolution
Starfish can protect them self's by only to come out at night so no animals can see it. Another way is that some starfish have spiny skin that will jab into anything that tries to attack it.

external image brittle_Starfish.jpg
Photo of Black Brittle Sea Star
http://www.getahugetank.com/images/brittle_Starfish.jpg

References
http://www.racerocks.com/racerock/eco/taxalab/ariolr.htm
http://www.bluezooaquatics.com/productDetail.asp?did=2&pid=1268&cid=85
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brittlestars.htm
http://species-identification.org/species.php?species_group=echinodermata&id=87
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/invertebrates/starfish