Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Watching Brittle Stars Bioturbate! Amazing brittle star burrowing videos!


Today, a cool assortment of unusual videos of brittle stars digging themselves into the sediment!

hmm.. yes, I know that doesn't sound all that special but brittle stars are some of the most abundant animals on the planet. In some settings, such as the deep-sea they are thought to comprise an incredible amount of biomass.  As I've written about before, the Amphiuridae, which often make their home in sediment and hiding in mud are among the most diverse groups of brittle stars.

For the topic at hand, some of these videos are pretty amazing. Enjoy!

We start with an Antarctic species, Ophionotus victoriae doing its thing in a special aquarium and its thing is AWESOME.


A gorgeous video of Amphiodia occidentalis from Bodega Head in the North Pacific! 


Here is a typical burrowing type of brittle star from the family Amphiuridae, in the genus Amphiura shot here moving through some loose sediment. 


If you want an idea of how important the movement of these individual brittle stars is ultimately importatnt, scientists have made videos of their communities in the sediment. They "turn over" and process the sand/mud pretty readily. 


Being buried all the time also helps in preservation of brittle stars as fossils...


and we close out with one of the most gorgeous brittle star videos ever shot "Emerging" by Robert Suntay featuring what looks to be Ophiopsila sp.  as it emerges from its burrow..
EMERGING from Robert Suntay on Vimeo.


1 comment:

Johnn Morales said...

on Emerging by Suntay as beautiful as the brittle star is,I can't believe that you didn't mention the nearly invisible snipe eel or eel of some sort that kept darting in and out. At first I thought they were transparent squid like the piglet squid, but since I couldn't spot any sign of tentacles, it had to be larval eels You have to stop the video or slomo it to catch them start at :35 and 1:04 also aren't those benthic ctenophores all those things in the background letting their twin tentacles look for food?