General Description

Body (disc) covered with plates. Colour varies, including orange, grey or with spots. Disc up to 5 mm wide, arm up to 3 cm long.


These brittle stars have specialised cells along the arms (photocytes) that emit light (bioluminescence) when touched. When attacked, the animal can cast-off an arm and it wriggles away, glowing and luring the predator away. They can employ either deposit- or suspension-feeding, the latter being prevalent when there is water movement. Several arms are raised stiffy into the current, the arm spines become covered with mucus, and trapped food particles are removed by the tube feet. They brood young internally.


Worldwide. Australian coastal waters.


Seaweed and rocky areas, to depths over 1,000 m.

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