Jump to content
Cultivated Reef

Brittle Star Hitchhikers

c est ma

Recommended Posts

I bought a small rock with a couple of rics on it yesterday and was thrilled to find a brittle star hitchhiker! (Sorry for the photo quality--taken through scratched plastic wall of quarantine tank...) Notice tips of arms coming through holes around the edge of the rock:




Here's a slightly closer shot--notice pretty pattern on color bands:




It seemed to me I was seeing a few too many legs! Well, today when I turned the rock over I discovered that there were in fact 2 stars! This is the smaller one (and some blurry arms of the bigger one):




As soon as the rock was overturned it began to scurry back to the crevice the bigger one occupies:




I'm afraid this is one of the worst quality pictures, but you can see both stars in it, the bigger one is obvious and the little one is in the middle bottom:




I would be most grateful for any information anyone has on these. From a forum search last night I learned that except for the green spp these stars are considered reef-safe. Anyone know the name of this species? Any idea on why they would be together? (Someone I consulted suggested the smaller one might be male--is that possible?) Any good threads or websites on brittle stars you can suggest?





Link to comment

I thought I counted way too many legs. I've always called them and seen them called Banded Brittle Stars. I don't know any sites, sorry. They are reef safe however any small loose frags with food on them will be dragged into the rockwork. Also they are pretty good at stealing food from corals as well.

Link to comment

Thanks, RayWhisperer!


Could you elaborate on the stealing-food-from-corals part? Do they harm/stress the corals in the process? Can one avoid this by feeding them separately? So far these stars have scarfed down some Cyclopeeze but have not emerged from under their rock, even tho there was some extra food an inch away or so.



Link to comment

No harm done to corals. If their loose though you'll end up having to glue em down(only frags small enough for them to drag in). I hand feed mine when I feed my corals. Still they have alot of arms and once the sense food in an area all arms make their way over. They often steal food from the corals as well. Heck I'v even seen it catch food drifting past. Still a nice addition to any tank IMO. As fo Cyclops eeze it may be too small for it to grab. I feed mine flake/silversides(chopped)/mysis(also chopped)/krill(you get the idea)

Link to comment

Cute, harmless detritivores. Will eat food, but they're not aggressive at all, and stay small (<1" dia)

Link to comment



Thanks! Can't wait to try feeding something bigger.





I agree, they're cute!


Does anything harm them?


Is it unusual that they're "living together?"



Link to comment

Wrasses like to eat them; maybe angels too. Most reef-safe fish will leave them alone, though. No, not necessarily social, per se, but they do hang out in groups. Where there's food, they'll collect, you know?

Link to comment

Brittle stars are unobtrusive scavengers, great to have one or two in the tank. You'll hardly ever see them unless they get the scent of some food, then a tentacle or two comes out.

Link to comment



Then I guess I don't need to worry--just have a little green banded goby. :)





Boy, am I learning that! So glad I had them first in a BB quarantine tank or I might never have noticed them. Certainly wouldn't have seen as much of them as I did.


Hope no one minds if I post a few more pics. Here's the big one cruising around under the rock (they move quickly!):




And here's its ventral surface showing, I believe, its mouth?:





Link to comment

I know I have at least two in my tank. One of them likes to hang out in the rockwork near the front. I can usually see a tentacle or two sticking out, so I know where he's at most of the time.

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recommended Discussions

  • Create New...