Featured Invertebrate Data
Euryale aspera, a Basket Star, is considered to be rare on Okinawa as I have personally seen only two animals over a period of more than twenty years of Okinawa diving.
The following description is from Encyclopedia of Life (EOL):
Arm length to 30 cm, disc diameter to 6 cm. Characteristic high tubercules on dorsal side of disc and arms. Colour dark brown. Habitat: coral reefs. General distribution: temperate and tropical, west Pacific (also Madagascar), depth range 0-290 m.; Indo-Pacific. Also distributed in Bay of Bengal, East Indies, north Australia, Philippine, China and south Japan; Australia.
The following additional information on biology of Euryale asperais from SeaLifeBase:
This species is found in crevices during the day and then it extends its arms to feed at night. Members of the class Ophiuroidea are mostly gonochoric, others are protandric. Fertilization is external. Brooding is common, bursae is used as brood chambers where the embryos develop into juveniles and later crawl out from the bursal slits. Life cycle: Embryos hatch into free-swimming planktotrophic larvae and later metamorphose into tiny brittle stars which sink down the bottom where they grow into adult form.
There are a few on-line sites with photographs and videos of Euryale aspera. Several of these sites are:
Photos: Okinawa Nature Photography (on Flickr): Shawn Miller. I've also used Shawn's image on the second page of this presentation.
Videos (YouTube): Two videos here but these may not be Euryale aspera?, but interesting none-the-less:
This one showing a basket star catching an anchovy
I've added a second page w/ a pair of additional images of the species.
In addition, I've added a link to the current and past featured invertebrates via a list and thumbnails.