Brittle and basket stars

Phylum Echinodermata Class Ophiuroidea Number of families 16

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Small- to medium-size echinoderms with a flattened disk often covered with a series of scales, granules and small spines; usually five long thin (in comparison with the disk) articulated arms that break off easily; a row of papillae (small nipple-shaped structures) known as the arm comb near the base of each arm; lower surface of the disk containing a central mouth leading to the stomach pouch; mouth divided by five jaws

Photo: The snake star (Pectinura maculata) is an unusually large and mobile species. It is carnivorous, and has scales, not bristles. (Photo by ┬ęDavid Hall/Photo Researchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

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