Project Description

While exploring a shallow bay I was surprised to see this burrowing brittle star (Amphiodia periercta) resting on top of the ocean floor.  Usually this species is buried deep in the sand with only the tips of its slender long arms (or rays) showing as it gathers food drifting past in the current.  The burrowing brittle star has five rays that are around 6 inches (15 cm) in length or longer.  This animal has the ability to detach arm segments if it feels threatened, and will regenerate the lost sections.  The burrowing brittle star has a range that includes Japan, as well as Alaska to central California, and can grow to greater than 12 inches (30 cm) across.