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Ophionotus victoriae Bell, 1902

provided by British Antarctic Survey

Description

5 arms. Colour is variable from brown to bluish grey or white. The disc can be up to 4cm diameter while the arms are up to 9cm long.

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Species details

Fratt and Dearborn 1984: Feeding biology of the Antarctic brittle star Ophionotus victoriae. Adaptations within Antarctic Ecosystems SCAR 3.

Photos

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Species distribution

5 to 1,266m on a variety of substrates (sometimes in very high densities) from Sub-Antarctica to the Antarctic Peninsula and Continent.

Ophionotus victoriae is an opportunistic predator on a wide variety of invertebrates, particularly krill which it captures from the water column, although it does not appear to suspension or filter feed. It is also a scavenger of dead matter and detritus, and will cannibalise juveniles of its own species. Its predators include fish and the large brittle star Ophiosparte gigas, which it will try to flee from upon contact. Ophionotus victoriae spawns annually in the Antarctic summer.

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