Swiss Journal of Palaeontology

, Volume 130, Issue 1, pp 113–121 | Cite as

Ophiura paucilepis, a new species of brittlestar (Echinodermata, Ophiuroidea) from the Pliocene of the southern North Sea Basin

  • Sabine StöhrEmail author
  • John W. M. Jagt
  • Adiël A. Klompmaker


The first articulated ophiuroids to be recorded from Neogene deposits in the southern North Sea Basin are described as a new species, Ophiura paucilepis, based on two discs with portions of proximal arms preserved, plus an isolated arm fragment. The specimens were collected from the Oosterhout Formation (Pliocene, lower Zanclean to mid-Piacenzian, ca. 4.9–2.8 Ma) at sandpit ‘De Kuilen’ near Langenboom (province of Noord-Brabant, the Netherlands). A comparison with extant taxa from the North Sea and North Atlantic, such as O. albida, O. ophiura, O. sarsii and O. carnea, shows the fossil species to be characterised by a coarse disc scalation, which may be an ancestral state or a paedomorphic condition, similar to immature stages of extant taxa. The new species is compared to and distinguished from other records of mid-Cretaceous to Cenozoic taxa that have been assigned to the genus Ophiura either routinely, indiscriminately or with a query.


Neogene Pliocene North Sea Basin The Netherlands Ophiuridae Taxonomy 



Disc diameter


Oertijdmuseum De Groene Poort, Boxtel, the Netherlands


Statens Naturhistorisk Museum, København, Denmark


The Natural History Museum, Department of Palaeontology, London, United Kingdom


Naturhistorisches Museum Wien, Austria


Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Universität, Sektion Geologische Wissenschaften, Greifswald, Germany


Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden


Southwest Biostratigraphic Research Institute, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas, El Paso, Texas



For assistance in various ways, we thank R. H. B. Fraaije, M. Kutscher, N. Taverne, N. A. Waljaard and E. Wijnker and for pertinent comments on an earlier typescript we are grateful to D. B. Blake and C. A. Meyer. One of us (JWMJ) gratefully acknowledges the financial support through the Synthesys grant system (SE-TAF-1530), which allowed him to work on extant ophiuroids at the Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm (September 2006).


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Copyright information

© Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz (SCNAT) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabine Stöhr
    • 1
    Email author
  • John W. M. Jagt
    • 2
  • Adiël A. Klompmaker
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Swedish Museum of Natural HistoryStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Natuurhistorisch Museum MaastrichtMaastrichtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of GeologyKent State UniversityKentUSA
  4. 4.‘t Loo-OldebroekThe Netherlands

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