Polar Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 73–88

Brittle stars from Southern Ocean (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea)

Original Paper


The present biogeographic study on the ophiuroid fauna from the Southern Ocean (SO) contains an updated checklist, based on a compilation of all the published information provided for the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions as well as the information available in SCAR-MarBIN database. Faunal composition and geographical and bathymetric distribution are included. So far, 219 species have been recorded, of which 126 are endemic to the SO, 76 are exclusive to Antarctic waters, and 30 are exclusive to sub-Antarctic waters. This study corroborated the circumpolar and eurybathic character of the ophiuroid fauna of the SO, but some differences are discussed when considering shelf and deep-sea fauna in the whole SO, or in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions separately. The biogeographic affinities of 17 areas considered in the SO are revised, based on a presence/absence datamatrix of the 219 species. This similarity analysis shows three main groups, two of them including sub-Antarctic areas and one for Antarctic areas. The faunal movement patterns between the main geographical connections have been based on historical site records of each species. These movements have a level of faunal exchange that exceeds that of other Antarctic benthic groups. Such movements are mainly from Antarctic and sub-Antarctic regions to the subtropical waters of South America, and from New Zealand and southern Australian waters to sub-Antarctic areas. In this context, the origin of the ophiuroid Antarctic fauna is discussed.


Antarctica Benthos Ophiuroids Biogeography Endemism Circumpolarity 

Supplementary material

300_2013_1411_MOESM1_ESM.doc (694 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 693 kb)


  1. Arnaud PM (1974) Contribution a la bionomie marine benthique des regions antarctiques et subantartiques. Téthys 6:467–653Google Scholar
  2. Arntz WE, Brey T, Gallardo VA (1994) Antarctic zoobenthos. Oceanogr Mar Biol Ann Rev 32:241–304Google Scholar
  3. Arntz WE, Thatje S, Gerdes D, Gili JM, Gutt J, Jacob U, Montiel A, Orejas C, Teixido N (2005) The Antarctic-Magellan connection: macrobenthos ecology on the shelf and upper slope, a progress report. Sci Mar 69:237–269Google Scholar
  4. Arntz WE, Thatje S, Linse K, Avila C, Ballesteros M, Barnes D, Cope T, Cristobo F, De Broyer C, Gutt J, Isla E, López-González P, Montiel A, Munilla T, Ramos Esplá A, Raupach M, Rauschert M, Rodríguez E, Teixidó N (2006) Missing link in the Southern Ocean: sampling the marine benthic fauna of remote Bouvet Island. Polar Biol 29:83–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barboza CAM, Moura RB, Lanna AM, Oackes T, Campos LS (2011) Echinoderms as clues to Antarctic–South American connectivity. Oecolog Aust 15(1):86–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barnes DKA (2006) A most isolated benthos: coastal bryozoans of Bouvet Island. Polar Biol 29:114–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barnes DKA, Griffiths HJ (2008) Biodiversity and biogeography of southern temperate and polar bryozoans. Glob Ecol Biogeogr 17:84–99Google Scholar
  8. Bartsch I (1982) Ophiuroidea (Echinodermata) from the Patagonian Shelf. Mitt Hamb Zool Mus Inst 79:211–250Google Scholar
  9. Bernasconi I (1965) Astrotoma agassizii Lyman, especie vivípara del Atlántico sur (Ophiuroidea, Gorgonocephalidae). Physis 25:1–5Google Scholar
  10. Bernasconi I, D’Agostino MM (1977) Ophiuroideos del mar epicontinental argentino. Rev Mus Argent Cienc Nat Hidrobiol 5(5):65–114Google Scholar
  11. Bowden D, Schiaparelli S, Clark MR, Rickard GJ (2010) A lost world? Archaic criniod-dominated assemblages on an Antarctic seamount. Deep-Sea Res II 58:119–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brandt A (1991) Zur Besiedlungsgeschichte des antarktischen Schelfes am Beispiel der Isopoda (Crustacea, Malacostraca). Ber Polarforsch 98:1–240Google Scholar
  13. Brandt A (1999) On the origin and evolution of the Antarctic Peracarida (Crustacea, Malacostraca). Sci Mar 63:383–389Google Scholar
  14. Brandt A, De Broyer C, De Mesel I, Ellingsen KE, Gooday AJ, Hilbig B, Linse K, Thomson MRA, Tyler PA (2007) The biodiversity of the deep Southern Ocean benthos. Philos Trans R Soc B 362:39–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bray JR, Curtis JT (1957) An ordination of the upland forest of the southern Wisconsin. Ecol Monogr 27:325–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Brey T, Dahm C, Gorny M, Klages M, Stiller M, Arntz WE (1996) Do Antarctic benthic invertebrates show an extended level of eurybathy? Antarct Sci 8:3–6Google Scholar
  17. Cairns S (1982) Antarctic and sub-Antarctic Scleractinia. Antarct Res Ser 34(1):1–74Google Scholar
  18. Castillo JG (1968) Contribución al conocimiento de los ophiuroideos chilenos. Gayana Zool 14:1–44Google Scholar
  19. Clarke A (1990) Temperature and evolution: Southern Ocean cooling and the Antarctic marine fauna. In: Kerry KR, Hempel G (eds) Antarctic ecosystems: ecological change and conservation. Springer, Berlin, pp 9–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Clarke A (2003) The polar deep seas. In: Tyler PA (ed) Ecosystems of the Deep Oceans. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 239–260Google Scholar
  21. Clarke A, Crame JA (1989) The origin of the Southern Ocean marine fauna. In: Crame JA (ed) Origins and evolution of the Antarctic biota. Geol Soc London Spec Pub 47:253–268Google Scholar
  22. Clarke A, Crame JA (1992) The Southern Ocean benthic fauna and climate change: a historical perspective. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 338:99–109Google Scholar
  23. Clarke KR, Gorley RN (2006) PRIMER v6: User manual/tutorial. PRIMER-E Ltd. Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UKGoogle Scholar
  24. Clarke A, Johnston NM (2003) Antarctic marine diversity. Oceanogr Mar Biol 41:47–114Google Scholar
  25. Clarke A, Aronson RB, Crame JA, Gili JM, Blake DB (2004) Evolution and diversity of the benthic fauna of the Southern Ocean continental shelf. Antarct Sci 16(4):559–568CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Dahm C (1999) Ophiuroids (Echinodermata) of southern Chile and the Antarctic: Taxonomy, biomass, diet and growth of dominant species. In: Arntz W, Ríos C (eds) Magellan-Antarctic: ecosystems that drifted apart. Sci Mar 63(1):427–432Google Scholar
  27. Dawson EW (1965) Oceanography and marine zoology of the New Zealand sub-Antarctic. Proc N Z Ecol Soc 12:44–57Google Scholar
  28. Dawson EW (1970) Faunal Relationships between the New Zealand Plateau and the New Zealand sector of Antarctica based on echinoderm distribution. N Z J Mar Freshw Res 4:126–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. De Broyer C, Danis B (2010) How many species in the Southern Ocean? Towards a dynamic inventory of the Antarctic marine species. Deep-Sea Res II 58:5–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Deacon GER (1982) Physical and biological zonation in the Southern Ocean. Deep-Sea Res I 29:1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Dearborn JH (1977) Foods and feeding characteristics of Antarctic asteroids and ophiuroids. In: Llano GA (ed) Adaptations within Antarctic ecosystems. Proceedings of the third SCAR symposium on Antarctic biology. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, pp 293–326Google Scholar
  32. Dearborn JH, Hendler G, Wagele JW (1990) Ophiuroidea. In: Sieg J, Wagele JW (eds) Fauna der Antarktis. Verlag Paul Parey, Berlin, pp 176–181Google Scholar
  33. Dell RK (1972) Antarctic benthos. Adv Mar Biol 10:1–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Downey RV, Griffiths HJ, Linse K, Janussen D (2012) Diversity and distribution patterns in high southern latitude sponges. PLoS One 7(7):e41672. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041672 PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Fell HB (1947) The constitution and relations of the New Zealand Echinoderm fauna. N Z Sci Congr Zool Sci 77:208–212 Google Scholar
  36. Fell HB (1953a) The origin migrations of Australasian Echinoderm Faunas since the Mesozoic. Trans R Soc N Z 81:245–255Google Scholar
  37. Fell HB (1953b) Echinoderms from the sub-Antarctic islands of New Zealand: Asteroidea, Ophiuroidea and Echinoidea. Rec Dom Mus 2:73–111Google Scholar
  38. Fell HB (1961) The fauna of the Ross Sea. Part 1. Ophiuroidea. N Z Dep Sci Ind Res Bull 142:1–79 Google Scholar
  39. Fell HB (1962) West-wind-drift dispersal of echinoderms in southern hemisphere. Nature 4817:759–761CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Fell HB, Holzinger T, Sherraden M (1969) Ophiuroidea. Distribution of selected groups of marine invertebrates in waters south of 35°S latitude. Antarct Map Fol Ser Am Geogr Soc 11:42–43Google Scholar
  41. Fry WG, Hedgpeth JW (1969) Pycnogonida. 1. Colossendeidae, Pycnogonidae, Endeidae and Ammotheidae. Fauna of the Ross Sea, 7. Mem N Z Oceanogr Inst 49:1–149Google Scholar
  42. Gage JD, Tyler PA (1991) Deep-sea biology: a natural history of organisms at the deep-sea floor. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Gili JM, Arntz W, Palanques A, Orejas C, Clarke A, Dayton PK, Isla E, Teixidó N, Rossi S, López-González PJ (2006) A unique assemblage of epibenthic sessile suspension feeders with archaic features in the high-Antarctic. Deep Sea Res II 53:1029–1052CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Griffiths HJ (2010) Antarctic Marine Biodiversity—what do we know about the distribution of life in the Southern Ocean? PLoS One 5(8):e11683. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011683 PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Griffiths HJ, Barnes DKA, Linse K (2009) Towards a generalized biogeography of the Southern Ocean benthos. J Biogeogr 36:162–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Hain S (1990) Die beschalten benthischen Mollusken (Gastropoda und Bivalvia) des Weddellmeeres, Antarktis. Ber Polarforsch 70:1–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Hedgpeth JW (1969) Introduction to Antarctic zoogeography. Antarct Map Fol Ser Am Geogr Soc Fol 11:1–9Google Scholar
  48. Hedgpeth JW (1970) Marine biogeography of the Antarctic regions. In: Holdgate MW (ed) Antarctic ecology. Academic Press, London, pp 97–104Google Scholar
  49. Hedgpeth JW (1971) Perspectives in benthic ecology in Antarctica. Res Antarct 1(19):93–136Google Scholar
  50. Heimeier D, Lavery S, Sewell MA (2010) Molecular species identification of Astrotoma agassizii from planktonic embryos: further evidence for a cryptic species complex. J Hered 101(6):775–779PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Helmuth B, Veit RR, Holberton R (1994) Long-distance dispersal of a sub-Antarctic brooding bivalve (Gaimardia trapesina) by kelp rafting. Mar Biol 120:421–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Hertz M (1927) Die Ophiuroiden der Deutschen Südpolar-Expedition (1901–1903). Dtsch Südpolar Exped (1901–1903) Zoologie 2:1–56Google Scholar
  53. Hunter RL, Halanych KM (2008) Evaluating connectivity in the brooding brittle star Astrotoma agassizii across the drake passage in the Southern Ocean. J Hered 99:137–148PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Hunter RL, Halanych KM (2010) Phylogeography of the Antarctic planktotrophic brittle star Ophionotus victoriae reveals genetic structure inconsistent with early life history. Mar Biol 157:1693–1704CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Jaramillo E (1981) Ofiuroideos de los archipiélagos de Chiloe y los Chonos. Stud Neotrop Fauna Environ 16:113–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Koehler R (1901) Echinides et Ophiures. Resultats du voyage du S.Y. Belgica 1897–1899. Buschmann, Anvers 1–42Google Scholar
  57. Koehler R (1908) Astéries, Ophiures et Echinides de l’Expédition Antarctique Nationale Ecossaise. Trans R Soc Edinb 46:529–649CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Koehler R (1912) Échinodermes (Astéries, Ophiures et Echinides). Deux Expéd Antarct Franc 1908–1910. Masson, Paris, pp 1–272Google Scholar
  59. Koehler R (1922) Echinodermata Ophiuroidea. Adelaide: Australasian Antarctic Expedition (1911–1914). Sci Rep Ser C Zool Bot 8:1–98Google Scholar
  60. Linse K, Griffiths HJ, Barnes DKA, Clarke A (2006) Biodiversity and biogeography of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic mollusca. Deep-Sea Res II 53:985–1008CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. López-González PJ, Gili JM (2001) Rosgorgia inexspectata, new genus and species of Subergorgiidae (Cnidaria, Octocorallia) from off the Antarctic Peninsula. Polar Biol 24:122–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. López-González PJ, Williams GC (2002) A new genus and species of sea pen (Octocorallia: Pennatulacea: Stachyptilidae) from the Antarctic Peninsula. Invertebr Syst 16:919–929CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Ludwig H (1899) Ophiuroiden. Hamburger magalhaens. Sammelr 1:1–28Google Scholar
  64. Lyman T (1875) Results of the Hassler expedition (excluding Ophiuroidea and Astrophytidae). Illus Cat Mus Comp Zool Harv Univ 8(2):1–43Google Scholar
  65. Lyman T (1882) Report on the Ophiuroidea. Rep Sci Voyage HMS Challenger 1873–1876, Zool 5(14):1–386Google Scholar
  66. Manso CLC (2010) Deep-water Ophiuroidea (Echinodermata) from off Chile in the Eastern South Pacific. Biota Neotrop 10(2):1–15Google Scholar
  67. Martínez S (2008) Shallow water Asteroidea and Ophiuroidea of Uruguay: composition and biogeography. Rev Biol Trop 56(3):205–214Google Scholar
  68. Martín-Ledo R, Sands CJ, González-López PJ (2013) A new brooding species of brittle-star (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) from Antarctic waters. Polar Biol. doi:10.1007/s00300-012-1242-z Google Scholar
  69. Martynov AV, Litvinova NM (2008) Deep-water Ophiuroidea of the northern Atlantic with descriptions of three new species and taxonomic remarks on certain genera and species. Mar Biol Res 4(1):76–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. McClintock JB (1994) Trophic biology of Antarctic shallow-water echinoderms. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 111:191–202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Monteiro AMG, Tommasi LR (1983) Ophiuroidea das regioes Antártica e Subantártica, 1. Sobre três espécies de Gorgonocephalidae e Ophiacanthidae. B Inst Oceangr São Paulo 32:33–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Montiel A, Ríos C, Mutschke T, Rozbaczylo N (2004) Poliquetos de fiordos y canales adyacentes al campo de hielo patagónico sur, Chile (Annelida, Polichaeta). Cienc Tec Mar 27:49–67Google Scholar
  73. Montiel A, Gerdes D, Arntz WE (2005) Distributional patterns of shallow-water polychaetes in the Magellan region: a zoogeographical and ecological synopsis. Sci Mar 69(2):123–133Google Scholar
  74. Mortensen T (1924) Echinoderms of New Zealand and the Auckland-Campbell Islands. Papers from Dr. Th. Mortensen’s Pacific Expedition 1914–1916, part 2. Vidensk Medd Dan Natur Foren 77:91–177Google Scholar
  75. Mortensen T (1936) Echinoidea and Ophiuroidea. Discov Rep 12:199–348Google Scholar
  76. Mortensen T (1941) Echinoderms of Tristan Da Cunha. The Results of the Norwegian Scientific Expedition to Tristan da Cunha 1937–1938. Norske Vidensk Akad 7:1–10Google Scholar
  77. Moyano H (2005) Scotia Arc bryozoa from the LAMPOS expeditions: a narrow bridge between two different faunas. Sci Mar 69:103–112Google Scholar
  78. Müller J, Troschel FH (1843) Neue Beiträge zur Kenntniss der Asteriden. Arch Naturgesch 9(1):113–131Google Scholar
  79. Munilla T (2001) Synopsis of the pycnogonids from Antarctic and sub-Antarctic waters. Polar Biol 24:941–945CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Munilla T, Soler A (2009) Check-list of the pycnogonids from Antarctic and sub-Antarctic waters: zoogeographic implications. Antarct Sci 21(2):99–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. O’Hara TD (1998) Origin of Macquarie Island echinoderms. Polar Biol 20:143–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. O’Hara TD, Rowden AA, Bax NJ (2011) A southern hemisphere bathyal fauna is distributed in latitudinal bands. Curr Biol 21:226–230PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. O’Hara TD, Smith PJ, Mills VS, Smirnov I, Steinke D (2012) Biogeographical and phylogeographical relationships of the bathyal ophiuroid fauna of the Macquarie Ridge, Southern Ocean. Polar Biol. doi:10.1007/s00300-012-1261-9 Google Scholar
  84. O’Loughlin PM, Paulay G, Davey N, Michonneau F (2010) The Antarctic region as a marine biodiversity hotspot for echinoderms: diversity and diversification of sea cucumbers. Deep-Sea Res II 58:264–275CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Pawson DL (1994) Antarctic echinoderms: history, distribution, ecology, 1968–1993. In: David B, Guille A, Féral JP, Roux M (eds) Echinoderm through time. Proceedings of the eighth international echinoderm conference, Balkema, pp 99–110Google Scholar
  86. Philippi RA (1858) Beschreibung einiger neuen Seesterne aus dem Meere von Chiloe. Arch Naturges 24(2):264–268Google Scholar
  87. Primo C, Vázquez E (2009) Antarctic ascidians: an isolated and homogeneous fauna. Pol Res. doi:10.1111/j.1751-8369.2009.00110.x Google Scholar
  88. Rodríguez E, López-González PJ, Gili JM (2007) Biogeography of Antarctic sea anemones (Anthozoa, Actiniaria): what do they tell us about the origin of the Antarctic benthic fauna? Deep-Sea Res II 54:1876–1904CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Rogers AD (2007) Evolution and biodiversity of Antarctic organisms: a molecular perspective. Philos Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 362:2191–2214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Sands CJ, Griffiths HJ, Downey R, Barnes DKA, Linse K, Martín-Ledo R (2012) Observations of the ophiuroids from the West Antarctic sector of the Southern Ocean. Antarct Sci. doi:10.1017/S0954102012000612 Google Scholar
  91. Sanmartín I, Ronquist F (2004) Southern hemisphere biogeography inferred by event-based Models: plant versus animal patterns. Syst Biol 53(2):216–243PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Smirnov IS (1994) Biogeography and area types of the southern ocean ophiuroids (Echinodermata, ophiuroidea). In: David B, Guille A, Féral JP, Roux M (eds) Echinoderm through time. Proceedings of the eighth international echinoderm conference, Balkema, pp 477–488Google Scholar
  93. Smith CR, Mincks S, Demaster DJ (2006) A synthesis of bentho-pelagic coupling on the Antarctic shelf: food banks, ecosystem inertia and global climate change. Deep-Sea Res II 53:875–894CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Spalding MD, Fox HE, Allen GR, Davidson N, Ferdaña ZA, Finlayson M, Halpern BS, Jorge MA, Lombana A, Lourie SA, Martin KD, McManus E, Molnar J, Recchia CA, Robertson J (2007) Marine ecoregions of the world: a bioregionalization of coastal and shelf areas. Bioscience 57(7):573–583CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Stöhr S, O’Hara TD, Thuy B (2012) Global diversity of brittle stars (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea). PLoS One 7(3):e31940. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0031940 PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Studer T (1876) Echinodermen aus dem antarktischen Meere und zwei neue Seeigel von den Papua Inseln, gesammelt auf der Reise SMS Gazelle um die Erde. Akad Wiss, Berlin, pp 452–465Google Scholar
  97. Studer T (1885) Die Seesterne Süd-Georgiens nach der Ausbeute der deutschen Polarstation in 1882 und 1883. Jahrb Hamburg Wiss Aust 11:143–166Google Scholar
  98. Thatje S, Hillenbrand C, Larter R (2005) On the origin of Antarctic marine benthic community structure. Trends Ecol Evol 20(10):534–540PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Watling L, Thurston MH (1989) Antarctica as an evolutionary incubator: evidence from the cladistic biogeography of the amphipod family Iphimediidae. In: Crame JA (ed) Origins and evolution of the Antarctica biota. Geological Society, London, pp 297–309Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rafael Martín-Ledo
    • 1
  • Pablo J. López-González
    • 2
  1. 1.Área de Zoología, Facultad de CienciasUniversidad de ExtremaduraBadajozSpain
  2. 2.Biodiversidad y Ecología de Invertebrados Marinos, Departamento de Zoología, Facultad de BiologíaUniversidad de SevillaSevillaSpain

Personalised recommendations