species: Ophiocoma scolopendrina in taxonomy (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Ophiocoma scolopendrina

©Anne Hoggett: Ophiocoma scolopendrina at Lizard IslandĀ 

©Anne Hoggett: Ophiocoma scolopendrina at Lizard Island, found under granite slab

©Anne Hoggett: Ophiocoma scolopendrina at Lizard Island, oral surface
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Echinodermata
Class Ophiuroidea
Order Ophiurida
Family Ophiocomidae
Genus Ophiocoma
Species Ophiocoma scolopendrina



Distinguishing features

A large brittlestar restricted to very shallow rocky areas which feeds at low tide with arms at water surface. Colouration on dorsal surface variable (uniformly dark to finely patterned dark with pale) but always much paler (yellowish) below. Radial shields small, elongate and pointed, often paler than the rest of the disc. Coarse granulation on disc. Arm spines banded. Two tentacle scales.


  • Up to 18 cm (Arm length)
  • Up to 2 cm (Disc diameter)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.


Similar taxa

  • Animalia: species: Breviturma doederleini
    is another large ophiocomid with banded arms spines but it is not usually found intertidally and its underside is not pale yellow. There are many other morphological differences but these are the easy ones to see in the field.


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Local abundance

  • Lizard Island: Very abundant in shallow rocky areas

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Clark, A.M. and F.W.E. Rowe (1971). Monograph of shallow-water Indo-west Pacific echinoderms British Museum (Natural History), London.