Ophiolepis elegans
Family Ophiuridae

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Abundance: very common (most abundant brittle star observed) Distribution: inner shelf to
outer shelf (10-50 m)

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Dorsal (left) and ventral views. The disk is flat with tile-like dorsal scales of brown, black and white.
The ventral side is mostly white. Disk sizes are less than 2 cm, with arms 4 to 6 cm in length.

Arms of this species are relatively short, compared
with the disk diameter. They are banded only on the
dorsal side, with contrasting colors.

Coloration of the disk's dorsal side has wide variation, though the scale patterns
are consistent. Note the small scales that surround the larger scales.

Ventral side detail: Tube feet are almost completely retracted into the tentacle pores,
along each edge of the arms. One tube foot can be seen on the upper right arm.Two
swollen scales at the edge of the disk (foreground) are common on this species.

These ventral views show a specimen with the mouth open (left) and closed. A set of
five jaws comprise the mouth. Each jaw has a tooth and several pairs of oral papillae.

The disk of this juvenile is
less than 0.5 cm. (This specimen
may be O. brevicaudum.