Polar Biology

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 127–139 | Cite as

Feeding biology of the Antarctic brittle star Ophionotus victoriae (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea)

  • D. B. Fratt
  • J. H. Dearborn


The diet and feeding behavior of the brittle star Ophionotus victoriae were studied in 1981–1983. Frequency-of-occurrence and points methods were used to examine stomach contents of 2475 specimens from 19 stations representing seven general localities along the Antarctic Peninsula and South Sandwich Islands. Results of the two methods were in agreement and indicated this species is an opportunistic generalist with high diet plasticity. The most abundant component of the stomach contents was sediment but the diet derived from at least 13 phyla. Crustaceans, notably euphausiids and amphipods, were most important at some locations. Diet composition varied significantly between locations and years, but did not differ among brittle star size groups. Stomach content data and laboratory studies indicate that O. victoriae utilizes a variety of feeding methods but not suspension feeding.


Size Group Laboratory Study Feeding Behavior General Locality Stomach Content 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. B. Fratt
    • 1
  • J. H. Dearborn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of Maine at OronoOronoUSA

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