Wednesday, August 15, 2007


This is a brittle star. An OPHIUROID. There are about 1,600 species & they are similar in that they have a central disc with well defined arms or rays radiating from it. Most are relatively small, but some in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, may grow to 10 feet across. For the most part the class is mostly pentamerous, having body parts in multiples of five, & with very few of these animals having body parts or appendages not divisible by five. They move by articulating their arms & move their arms or rays by articulating oscicles rather than tube feet. The mouth opens directly to the stomach which may have different sections but they have neither an intestine nor anus. You may see this mouth & into it in the accompanying slide show. (You may browse those images also)
They also have many different feeding methods, but are perfect at cleaning left over food, dead organisms, & such. One of the strangest is that some extend their arms up into the water current, creating an electrstatic current which then attracts charged organic particles.
This one in my tank, I think is beautiful.
They are mostly nocturnal feeders & I see it occasionally. Sometimes I forget it`s in the tank, & at feeding time it`ll come cartwheeling out from the rockwork like a freaky kind of fivetapus.
I put some flavored drops for anyone with a little cough, over at Planet Earth.In the header, is the panorama from last night. Would you tell me which version you like better.
Have a wonderful day & may the sun set, on you happy.


NDD said...

Wow, that OPHIUROID is quite a bizzare and colorful character, reminds me of one the the fireworks I photo-ed the other night.

I like today's sunset panorama. This one is much more mysterious.

Both the detail and the color show up extremely well in the "cough drop" photos. Were you using a 50 mm lens on those?

Hey, guess what, I beat AndiF.. ha ha, and a good morning to the rest of the ol' gang.

Knucklehead said...

The drops are pretty big. I have no clue about the focal length but I`d guess maybe that. it sounds right & looks about right. The brittle star does look like fireworks or vice/versa.

AndiF said...

Morning ndd and head -- I'm glad to be beat if it means I slept a bit later, not so much if it means you're having trouble sleeping.

That is one pretty scary and scary pretty dude.

olivia said...

Morning Head, NDD, Andi ...

Head -- I like yesterday's panorama better, w/ the pleats ... ha! ;)

Well, that Ophiuroid is fascinating. Just looked at the slide show over at flickr. The pattern on it's body is amazing.

Yikes Andi -- even w/ the 3hr added on, that is still way too early.

Family Man said...

Excellent pictures today Head.

The Ophiuroid reminds me of one of the creatures you would see in an underwater horror movies. Of course in the movies it would be a thousand times larger.

This is probably a stupid question, but on the colored drops, did you do that on the computer or did you mix up something?

I like both headers, but my favorite out of the slide show is number 25. I like how the tree or plant stands black against the background.

Have a good day Head and as usual, stay cool.

Knucklehead said...

Good day Andif.
Yes, it is one strange beauty.
It is remarkable how it can have one arm coming out of some rocks over here, and two more arms over there, & be grabbing food particles while the central data banks are not to be seen.

Knucklehead said...

Yes Olivia,
The "Pleated Panel" is preferable to the painted picture, produced by picking paler points of pleasing pixels to placate the punctual pupils of pix.

Knucklehead said...

I select different drops & color them in PS.
Yes the Yucca skeleton is evocative in a way. "The Lost Frontier"
Cool is my middle name. I have to be very careful & aware of temperature with my tanks. They all have digital control modules that turn on chillers that keep the tanks at 80 degrees. If it gets too hot & the chillers can`t keep up, I sometimes shut down the hottest lights, or throw icepacks in the sumps of the tanks. This may happen a few times a year. The other cooling method is running a fan to circulate any ocean breeze available, but that increase evaporation of the tank water. This in turn, raises the specific gravity of the water which I adjust by adding Reverse Osmosis water to equalize it to the specific gravity of 1.024 In relation to H2O. I have a little water tank at each tank, with drip systems that replenishes the water for this purpose. It surprises people that I add fresh water to salt water, but the salt does not evaporate, only the water.

dada said...

10' across, the gulf of mexico....hmmmmm. one of those guys, that big, and moving, would be a bit alarming me thinks..

perhaps l should consider leaving my snorkel and dive fins at home next time l go down there...nah...a little adrenaline is good for the system.



Knucklehead said...

dada, I know what you mean. It would probably be worse at night also. This one in my tank is about 14"/16" tip to tip.
That`s good enough for me