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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 1996

Arm regeneration frequency in eight species of ophiuroidea (Echinodermata) from European sea areas

Sköld, Mattias; Rosenberg, Rutger


Eight ophiuroid species, six from the northern Kattegat-eastern Skagerrak and three from the northern Adriatic Sea, were examined for regeneration of arms. The species were separated into groups based upon mode of feeding and habitat. Comparison between groups collected in the northern Kattegat-eastern Skagerrak showed that infaunal suspension- and deposit-feeding species (Amphiura filiformis and A. chiajei) had significantly more scars per arm (mean number 0.78) than epibenthic suspension feeders (Ophiothrix fragilis and Ophiocomina nigra, 0.29) or epibenthic carnivores and deposit feeders (Ophiura ophiura and O. albida, 0.13). Spatial variation in arm regeneration incidence was found between sampling sites in the northern Kattegat-eastern Skagerrak for Amphiura filiformis and in the northern Adriatic Sea for Ophiothrix quinquemaculata. The ash-free dry weight (AFDW) and nitrogen (N) contents were measured in arms of six species of brittle-stars from the northern Kattegat-eastern Skagerrak. Differences between species were found, with highest concentrations of AFDW and N in Amphiura filiformis, intermediate in A. chiajei, Ophiocomina nigra and Ophiothrix fragilis, and lowest in Ophiura ophiura and O. albida. As the infaunal suspension- and deposit-feeding brittle-stars (Amphiura spp.) had the highest proportions of damaged arms and highest AFDW and N contents in their arms in this comparison, it is suggested that selective cropping of arms by demersal fish is the main cause of arm damage on Amphiura spp. in this area.


Ophioderma longicaudum; Ophiura ophiura; O-albida; Ophiocomina nigra; Amphiura chiajei; A-filiformis; Ophiothrix quinquemaculata; Ophiothrix fragilis; predation; Adriatic Sea; Kattegat; Skagerrak

Published in

Journal of Sea Research
1996, volume: 35, number: 4, pages: 353-362

Authors' information

University of Gothenburg
Rosenberg, Rutger
University of Gothenburg

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