Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Harlequin Brittle Star

Ophioderma appressum

The harlequin brittle star is also called the harlequin serpent star fish because of its long, think arms and black and white stripes. Brittle stars are nocturnal scavengers that can be found in ecosystems throughout the world’s oceans.

Range & Habitat

This species is common on reefs across the over the Caribbean. It often hides under rocks, old coral heads and in recesses and can be found up to 20 meters (65 feet) deep.

Conservation Status: Not Evaluated


Brittle stars are scavengers that eat algae, plants, fish feces and other detritus as well as detritus and small oceanic organisms such as plankton. They are cleaners in the aquarium world.

Life Span

About 5 years.

Fun Facts about the Harlequin Brittle Star

  •  Brittle stars are named for their ability to break off an arm in order to escape predators; the arm will grow back.
  •  They move by articulating their long, flexible arms rather than using tube feet like sea stars.
  •  This species is sometimes called the tiger-striped brittle star.


Marine Species Identification Portal, Information retrieved February, 2021 from

Georgia Aquarium, Information retrieved February, 2021 from

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Brittle star". Encyclopedia Britannica, 12 Oct. 2018, Accessed 18 February 2021.

Montgomery Zoo, Stingray Bay - Tropical Tank: Tiger Brittle Starfish, Information retrieved February, 2021 from

Updated March 18, 2021