Growth of the brittle star Ophiura sarsii sarsii in Funka Bay, Hokkaido, Japan

  • Kazuki Orino
  • Kosuke Ishigane
  • Kota Suzuki
  • Hiroki Izumiura
  • Mitsuhiro Nakaya
  • Tetsuya TakatsuEmail author
Original Article Environment


The brittle star Ophiura sarsii with a disc diameter (DD) of less than 9 mm is an important prey item for flathead flounder Hippoglossoides dubius in Funka Bay. To establish an age-determination technique and estimate the growth equation for Ophiura sarsii sarsii (a dominant sub-species of O. sarsii in Funka Bay), we observed ridges on the surface of the arm ossicles. Specimens were collected using a sledge net, their DD measured, and the first arm ossicles examined from scanning electron microscopy images. Because the outermost ridges were formed from November to March, ridges were identified as yearly rings (annuli). The maximum age was 16.83 years (16.46-mm DD), and the largest sized individual was 22.19-mm DD (13.75 years). The best growth equation between DD and age (t) was given by Richard’s model using a minimum Akaike’s information criterion and growth rate comparison: DDt= 24.02 × {1 − 1.70 × exp[− 0.067 × (t + 8.25)]}−1/(−1.70). Small-sized (< 9-mm DD) and large-sized (ca. 15-mm DD) cohorts were composed of multi-year classes, and estimated growth rates from cohort progressions were 2.25 mm/year and 0.98 mm/year, respectively. We presumed that the large-sized cohort could be explained by a high survival rate and slow growth rate after the age of 5 or 6 years.


Age validation Growth equation Growth rate Ophiuroidea Disc diameter 



We would like to thank Associate Professor T. Nakatani for his insightful comments and Associate Professor H. Kudo for supporting our SEM work. We also thank Captain K. Kamei and the crew of the training ship Ushio-maru and students of the Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences and Faculty of Fisheries, Hokkaido University. We thank two anonymous reviewers and an editor for their insightful suggestions. This study was supported by the Hokusui Society Foundation, Sapporo, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (KAKENHI grant nos 25450269, 16K07834).


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Copyright information

© Japanese Society of Fisheries Science 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Fisheries ScienceHokkaido UniversityHakodateJapan
  2. 2.Faculty of Fisheries SciencesHokkaido UniversityHakodateJapan
  3. 3.Aomori Prefecture Government Department of Agriculture, Forestry and FisheriesFisheries Bureau, Fisheries Promotion Division1-1-1 Nagashima, AomoriJapan
  4. 4.CGC JapanShinjukuJapan
  5. 5.Chiba Prefectural Fisheries Research CenterMinamibosoJapan
  6. 6.Daiichi Kishimoto Rinsho Kensa CenterTomakomaiJapan

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