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Ophiactis savignyi

Brittle Star

Breeana Heaslip (2013)



Fact Sheet



Physical Description


Life History & Behaviour

Anatomy & Physiology

Evolution & Systematics

Biogeographic Distribution

Conservation & Threats

References & Links


Ophiactis savignyi is a small, fissiparous species of brittle star that can be found in tropical waters around the world. It belongs to the Class Ophiuroidea within Phylum Echinodermata. O. savignyi is characterized by its small size, distinct pattern, six arms and its ability to reproduce asexually by splitting in half to produce two individual brittle stars. 

This webpage aims to give a detailed account of the physical description, ecology, life history, behaviour, anatomy and physiology, evolution and distribution of this species. 

Under the 'Life History and Behaviour' tab of this webpage there is also a study on the behaviour of O. savignyi with tidal and diurnal cycles. This study looked at how tidal and diurnal cycles could affect the behaviour of these brittle stars with regards to immersion in seawater and crypsis. In this study, O. savingyi were split into two treatment groups where one group was on a normal day/night cycle and the other group was in constant darkness. The study found that there was an obvious difference in the amount of time spent in or out of water as well as hidden or exposed, between the two groups. However, the tidal cycle or the time of day did not seem to influence this behaviour.