Marine Biology

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 316–328 | Cite as

Ecological aspects of ophiuroids from the phytal of S. W. Atlantic Ocean warm waters

  • E. Boffi


Nine species of ophiuroids — Amphipholis januarii, Axiognathus squamatus, Hemipholis clongata, Ophiocnida scabriuscula, Ophiactis lymani, Ophiactis savignyi, Ophionereis reticulata, Ophioderma appressum and Ophiothrix angulata —were collected in various habitats from the mid-littoral and upper infralittoral on the northern coast of the State of São Paulo, Brazil. The abundance of 6 species occurring in 28 species of algae was investigated. A total of 220 samples was collected at monthly intervals from April, 1969 to May, 1970. The distributional pattern of the populations, as determined by Mobisita's index, shows aggregation of the ophiuroids. No ophiuroid species was limited to one algal species. Each species prefers certain algal species and/or a different level on the shore. The most abundant species on algae was Ophiactis lymani, with a maximum density of 1,510 individuals/100 ml of algae. Four species of ophiuroids occurred inside sponges. The most abundant species in sponges was O. savignyi, with a maximum density of 1,892 individuals/100 g of dry sponge. Two species of ophiuroids occurred inside the bryozoan Schizoporella unicornis. Feeding observations have shown Axiognathus squamatus to capture its food by mucous nets. Decapod crustaceans fed on ophiuroids in aquaria. The copepod Thespesiopsyllus sp. was found in the body cavity of the 2 Ophiactis species. Simultaneous sexual and asexual reproduction were abserved in O. savignyi.


Sponge Distributional Pattern Atlantic Ocean Abundant Species Warm Water 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Boffi
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de BiociênciasUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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