Ophioderma brevicaudum
Family Ophiodermatidae

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Abundance: common Distribution: inner shelf to
shelf edge (10-100 m).

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Dorsal (left) and ventral views. This species has various colorations that include red, cream, black, gray,
and white. It commonly has a pentagonal disk and arms banded on both the dorsal and ventral sides.

Most adult specimens collected had arms that were 4 to 7 cm in length (measured from the disk).

The pentagonal disk has granule-covered radial shields.

Left: Detail of the ventral (oral) side shows the two pairs of bursal slits beside each arm, one pair near
the oral shield, the other at the edge of the disk (best seen at approximately the 2 o'clock position).
Right: Another ventral detail shows the sharply pointed jaws with a rounded sucker-like oral shield.

Dorsal (aboral) details of four specimens collected on the southeast U.S. continental shelf.

This specimen appears to have an inflated disk and sports a black, gray and white coloration.

The ventral side of the same specimen shown above shows enlarged gonads.

In one trawl, more than fifty specimens were collected (and later returned to the sea).
The coloration patterns are varied and numerous. (photo by C. Dietz)