Euryalida (Echinodermata, Ophiuroidea) from Northwest Africa

Keywords: Brittle-stars, taxonomy, Astrodendrum juancarlosi sp. nov., CCLME region, NW Atlantic


From 2004 to 2012, ten multidisciplinary oceanographic surveys were conducted along the coast of Northwest Africa, between the Strait of Gibraltar and the northern border of Sierra Leone. A total of five species of Euryalida Lamarck, 1816 belonging to three families were captured at 29 of the 1298 stations sampled in the area. Among them, Astrodendrum juancarlosi sp. nov. is described and figured in this paper. Ophiocreas oedipus Lyman, 1879 is recorded for the first time on West African continental margin and Gorgonocephalus pustulatum (H.L. Clark, 1916), an Indo-Pacific species only known from South African coast in the Atlantic, is reported off Guinea-Bissau, greatly extending to the North its Atlantic distribution. In addition, Asteroschema inornatum Koehler, 1906, a northeast Atlantic species, is recorded for the first time in African waters, off Western Sahara, extending its range of distribution to the south. Our data also extend the bathymetric distribution of A. inornatum to shallower waters and of G. pustulatum to deeper waters. The association of some euryalids with certain species of pennatulaceans and gorgonians is also described.


Alva V. & Vadon C. 1989. Ophiuroids from the western coast of Africa (Namibia and Guinea-Bissau). Scientia Marina 53 (4): 827–845.

Baker A.N. 1974. New species of brittle-stars from New Zealand (Echinodermata: Ophiiuroidea). Records of the Dominion Museum 8 (15): 247–266.

Baker A.N. 1980. Euryalinid Ophiuroidea (echinodermata) from Australia, New-Zealand, and the Southwest Pacific-Ocean. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 7 (1): 11–83.

Baker A.N., Okanishi M. & Pawson D.L. 2018. Euryalid brittle stars from the International Indian Ocean Expedition 1963–64 (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea: Euryalida). Zootaxa 4392: 1–27.

Berry C.T. 1938. Ophiurans from the Upper Senonian of South Limburg, Holland. Journal of Paleontology: 61–71.

Boero F. & Bouillon J. 1993. Zoogeography and life cycle patterns of Mediterranean hydromedusae (Cnidaria). Biological journal of the Linnean Society 48 (3): 239–266.

Bomford T.L. 1913. A note on certain ophiiuroids in the Indian Museum. Records of the Indian Museum 9 (4): 219–225.

Briggs J.C. 1974. Marine Zoogeography. McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York.

Briggs J.C. 1995. Global Biogeography. Developments in Paleontology and Stratigraphy. 14. Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Briggs J.C. & Bowen B.W. 2012. A realignment of marine biogeographic provinces with particular reference to fish distributions. Journal of Biogeography 39 (1): 12–30.

Calero B. 2017. Echinodermata (Ophiuroidea and Holothuroidea) from Northwest Africa. PhD thesis, Universidade de Vigo, Spain.

Calero B., Ramil F. & Ramos A. 2017. Echinoderms of the Mauritanian deep-sea waters. In: Ramos A., Ramil F. & Sanz J.L. (eds) Deep-Sea Ecosystems Off Mauritania: Research of Marine Biodiversity and Habitats in the Northwest African Margin: 445–480. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht.

Calero B., Ramos A. & Ramil F. 2018. Distribution of suspension-feeder brittle stars in the Canary Current upwelling ecosystem (Northwest Africa). Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers 142: 1–15.

Castillo S. 2017. Marine Molluscs (Gastropoda and Bivalvia) from Northwest Africa. PhD thesis, Universidade de Vigo, Spain.

Cho W. & Shank T.M. 2010. Incongruent patterns of genetic connectivity among four ophiuroid species with differing coral host specificity on North Atlantic seamounts: Incongruent patterns of genetic connectivity. Marine Ecology 31: 121–143.

Clark A.M. & Courtman-Stock J. 1976. The Echinoderms of Southern Africa. Trustees of the British Museum (Natural History), London.

Clark H.L. 1911. North Pacific ophiurans in the collection of the United States National Museum. Bulletin of the United States National Museum (75): 1–302.

Clark H.L. 1916. Report on the Sea-Lilies, Starfishes, Brittle-Stars and Sea-Urchins obtained by the F.I.S. ‘Endeavour’ on the coast of Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia. Biological results of the fishing experiments carried on by the "Endeavour" 4 (1). Minister for Trade and Customs, Sydney. hhtps:// 10.5962/bhl.title.13854

Clark H.L. 1923. The Echinoderm fauna of South Africa. Annals of The South African Museum XIII: 221–432.

Döderlein L. 1902. Japanische Euryaliden. Zoologischer Anzeiger 25 (659–684): 320–326.

Döderlein L. 1911. Über japanische und andere Euryalae. KB Akademie der Wissenschaften, Munich.

Döderlein L. 1927. Indopacifische Euryalae. Abhandlungen der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften XXXI (6): 1–105.

Gage J.D., Pearson M., Clark A.M., Paterson G.L.J. & Tyler P.A. 1983. Echinoderms of the Rockall Trough and adjacent areas. I. Crinoidea, Asteroidea and Ophiuroidea. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) 45 (5): 263–308.

García J., Yeh H. & Ohta S. 2002. Distribution and bathymetric zonation of deep-sea brittle stars (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) off the Japanese Pacific coast. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 82 (2): 345–346.

Gil M. 2017. Hydroids (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa) from Northwest Africa. PhD thesis, Universidade de Vigo, Spain.

Gil M. & Ramil F. 2017. Hydrozoans from Mauritanian deep-waters. In: Ramos A., Ramil F. & Sanz J.L. (eds) Deep-Sea Ecosystems Off Mauritania: 419–444. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht.

Gil M., Ramil F. & Agís J.A. 2020. Hydroids (Cnidaria, Hydrozoa) from Mauritanian Coral Mounds. Zootaxa 4878 (3): 412–466.

Haedrich R.L., Rowe G.T. & Polloni P.T. 1980. The megabenthic fauna in the deep sea south of New England, USA. Marine Biology 57 (3): 165–179.

Hernández-Herrejón L.A., Solís-Marín F.A. & Laguarda-Figueras A. 2008. Ofiuroideos (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) de las aguas mexicanas del golfo de México. Revista De Biología Tropical 56 (3): 83–167.

Hyman L.H. 1955. The Invertebrates. Volume IV, Echinodermata. McGraw-Hill, New York.

Irimura S. & Kubodera T. 1998. Ophiuroidea in the East China Sea. Memoirs of the National Science Museum, Tokyo 31: 135–143.

Kim D. & Shin S. 2015. A newly recorded basket star of genus Gorgonocephalus (Ophiuroidea: Euryalida: Gorgonocephalidae) from the East Sea, Korea. Animal Systematics, Evolution and Diversity 31 (4): 311–315.

Koehler R. 1895. Draguage profonds exécutés a bord du ‘Caudan’ dans le Golfe de Gascogne. Rapport préliminaire sur les Échinodermes. Revue Biologique du Nord de la France VII: 439–506.

Koehler R. 1896. Resultats scientifiques de la campagne du Caudan dans le Golfe de Gascogne. Echinodermes. Annales de l’Université de Lyon 26: 33–122.

Koehler R. 1904. Ophiures de l’expédition du Siboga. Part 1. Ophiures de mer profonde. In: Weber M. (ed.) Siboga-Expeditie 45a: 1–176. E.J. Brill, Leiden.

Koehler R. 1906a. Description des ophiures nouvelles recueillies par le Travailleur et le Talisman pendant les campagnes de 1880, 1881, 1882 & 1883. Mémoires de la Société Zoologique de France 19 (1): 5–35.

Koehler R. 1906b. Ophiures. Expéditions scientifiques du Travailleur et du Talisman pendant les années 1880, 1881, 1882, 1883. 7: 245–311. G. Masson, Paris.

Koehler R. 1909. Échinodermes provenant des campagnes du yacht Princesse-Alice (Astéries, Ophiures, Échinides et Crinoïdes). Résultats des campagnes scientifiques accomplies sur son Yacht par Albert I et Prince Souverain de Monaco, Fascicule XXXIV: 462.

Lyman T., 1879. Ophiuridae and Astrophytidae of the “Challenger” expedition. Part II. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard College, Cambridge, Mass. 6 (2): 17–83.

Lyman T. 1882. Report on the Ophiuroidea dredged by H.M.S. Challenger during the years 1873–76. Report of the Scientific Results of the Voyage of HMS Challenger during 1873–1873, Zoology 5: 1–386.

Madsen F.J. 1951. Ophiuroidea. Report Swedish Deep-Sea Expedition 1947–1948 II (9): 107–117.

Martynov A.V. & Litvinova N.M. 2008. Deep-water Ophiuroidea of the northern Atlantic with descriptions of three new species and taxonomic remarks on certain genera and species. Marine Biology Research 4 (1–2): 76–111.

Matos-Pita S.S.D. 2015. Crustáceos decápodos de aguas profundas de Mauritania. PhD thesis, Universidade de Vigo, Spain.

Matsumoto H. 1917. A monograph of Japanese Ophiuroidea, arranged according to a new classification. Journal of the College of Science, Imperial University, Tokyo, Japan XXXVIII (2): 1–407.

McKnight D.G. 1993. Records of echinoderms (excluding holothurians) from the Norfolk Ridge and Three Kings Rise north of New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 20 (3): 165–190.

McKnight D.G. 2000. The marine fauna of New Zealand: Basket-stars and Snake-stars (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea: Euryalinida). National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Wellington, New Zealand.

Metaxas A. & Giffin B. 2004. Dense beds of the ophiuroid Ophiacantha abyssicola on the continental slope off Nova Scotia, Canada. Deep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers 51 (10): 1307–1317.

Mortensen Th. 1927. Handbook of the Echinoderms of the British Isles. Oxford University Press, Rotterdam.

Mortensen Th. 1933. Papers from Dr. Th. Mortensen’s Pacific Expedition 1914–16. LXV. Echinoderms of South Africa (Asteroidea and Ophiuroidea). Videnskabelige Meddelelser fra Dansk naturhistorisk Forening i Kobenhavn: 93: 215–400.

Mosher C.V. & Watling L. 2009. Partners for life: a brittle star and its octocoral host. Marine Ecology Progress Series 397: 81–88.

Müller J. & Troschel F.H. 1842. System der Asteriden. F. Vieweg und Sohn, Braunschweig.

Okanishi M. & Fujita T. 2018. A taxonomic review of the genus Astrodendrum (Echinodermata, Ophiuroidea, Euryalida, Gorgonocephalidae) with description of a new species from Japan. Zootaxa 4392 (2): 289–310.

Okanishi M., Yamaguchi K., Horii Y. & Fujita T. 2011. Ophiuroids of the Order Euryalida (Echinodermata) from Hachijojima Island and Ogasawara Islands, Japan. Memoirs of the National Museum of Natural Sciences, Tokyo 47: 367–385.

Okanishi M., Sentoku A., Martynov A. & Fujita T. 2018. A new cryptic species of Asteronyx Müller and Troschel, 1842 (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea), based on molecular phylogeny and morphology, from off Pacific Coast of Japan. Zoologischer Anzeiger 274: 14–33.

Okanishi M., Kohtsuka H. & Fujita T. 2020. A taxonomic review of the genus Astrocladus (Echinodermata, Ophiuroidea, Euryalida, Gorgonocephalidae) from Japanese coastal waters. PeerJ 8: e9836.

Paterson G.L.J. 1985. The deep-sea Ophiuroidea of the North Atlantic Ocean. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) 49 (1): 1–162.

Pelegrí J.L., Peña-Izquierdo J., Machín F., Meiners C. & Presas-Navarro C. 2017. Oceanography of the Cape Verde Basin and Mauritanian Slope Waters. In: Ramos A., Ramil F. & Sanz J.L. (eds) Deep-Sea Ecosystems Off Mauritania: Research of Marine Biodiversity and Habitats in West African Margin: 119–153. Springer, Dordrecht.

Rowe F.W.E. & Gates J. 1995. Echinodermata. In: Wells A. (ed.) Zoological Catalogue of Australia Vol. 33. CSIRO Australia xii, Melbourne, Australia.

Smirnov I.S., Piepenburg D., Ahearn C. & Juterzenka K.V. 2014. Deep-sea fauna of European seas: An annotated species check-list of benthic invertebrates living deeper than 2000 m in the seas bordering Europe. Ophiuroidea. Invertebrate Zoology 11 (1): 192–209.

Soest R.W.M. van 1993. Distribution of sponges on the Mauritanian continental shelf. Hydrobiologia 258: 95–106.

Stöhr S. & Segonzac M. 2006. Two new genera and species of Ophiuroid (Echinodermata) from hydrothermal vents in the East Pacific. Species Diversity 11 (1): 7–32.

Stöhr S., O’Hara T.D. & Thuy B. 2012. Global diversity of brittle stars (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea). PLoSOne 7 (3): e31940.

Stöhr S., O’Hara T. & Thuy B. 2021. World Ophiuroidea Database. Available from [accessed 22 Mar. 2021].

Studer T. 1884. Verzeichnis der während der Reise S.M.S. “Gazelle” um die Erde, 1874–76 gesammelten Asteriden und Euryaliden. Abhandlungen der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften: 1–64.

Summers A.C. & Nybakken J. 2000. Brittle star distribution patterns and population densities on the continental slope off central California (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea). Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 47: 1107–1137.

Tortonese E. 1985. Distribution and Ecology of Endemic Elements in the Mediterranean Fauna (Fishes and Echinoderms). In: Moraitou-Apostolopoulou M. & Kiortsis V. (eds) Mediterranean Marine Ecosystems: 57–83. Springer US, Boston, USA.

Warner G.F. & Woodley J.D. 1975. Suspension-feeding in the brittle-star Ophiothrix fragilis. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 55 (1): 199–210.

How to Cite
Calero, B., & Ramil, F. (2023). Euryalida (Echinodermata, Ophiuroidea) from Northwest Africa. European Journal of Taxonomy, 870(1), 46–75.
Research article