Revista de Biología Tropical ISSN Impreso: 0034-7744 ISSN electrónico: 2215-2075

Tooth microstructure and feeding biology of the brittle star Ophioplocus januarii (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) from northern Patagonia, Argentina.


brittle star
stereom microstructure
stomach contents
Microestructura dental y biología alimentaria del Ophioplocus januarii (Echinodermata
Ophiuroidea) del norte de Patagonia

How to Cite

Brogger, M. I., Martinez, M. I., Cadierno, M. P., & Penchaszadeh, P. E. (2015). Tooth microstructure and feeding biology of the brittle star Ophioplocus januarii (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) from northern Patagonia, Argentina. Revista De Biología Tropical, 63(S2), 353–360.


Ophioplocus januarii is a common brittle star on soft and hard substrates along the Argentinian and Brazilian coasts. Based on stomach contents, tooth microstructure and field observations we identified its food. Opposed to previous suggestions, O. januarii appears to be a microphagous species feeding on macroalgal fragments (found in 60.0 % of the analyzed stomachs with content), plant debris (28.0 %), animal cuticle structures (13.0 %), and unidentifiable material (30.7 %). Less frequent items found were foraminiferans, ostracods, an amphipod, a juvenile bivalve, and other crustaceans. Electronic microscope revealed digested material, diatoms and small crustacean appendices. Thus, O. januarii is an omnivorous species, feeding mainly on algae, complemented opportunistically with other items. Suspension feeding was observed in the field. It has an fenestrated arrangement intermediate between the previously described uniform and compound teeth.


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