The Life of a Brittle Starfish Essay

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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
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They also have a skeleton composed of numerous plates of calcium carbonate.

2.1 Stereom

The plates that compose brittle starfish, ophiuroids and echinoderms is calcite along with other organics. Though each plate is a single crystal of calcite, it doesn't take a typical crystalline form. Below is a picture of the tooth socket, notice the holes.

2.2 Water Vascular System

Perhaps not as obvious is the water vascular system, another trait common to all echinoderms. By examining the oral underside side of a brittle star, one will be able to see hundreds of tiny feet usually arranged into several rows on each appendage of the star. These are the tube feet, or podia, and are filled with seawater in brittle stars. The water vascular system within the body of this species is also filled with seawater. By expanding and contracting chambers within the water vascular system, the brittle star can force water into certain tube feet to extend them. The animal has muscles in the tube feet, which are used to retract them. By expanding and retracting the right tube feet in the proper order, the creature can walk. Many echinoderms can also form suckers on the ends of their tube feet. These suckers can be used to capture and hold prey, or to hold onto rocks in a swift current or tide.

3.0 Habitat

Brittle stars can be found in the warmest and coldest of the world's seas and have a broad geographic range. Brittle stars can be found at various depths of the

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