Species Diversity of Animals in Japan

Part of the series Diversity and Commonality in Animals pp 651-678


Ophiuroidea (Echinodermata): Systematics and Japanese Fauna

  • Masanori OkanishiAffiliated withFaculty of Science, Biological Sciences Course, Ibaraki University Email author 

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This chapter consists of two sections, providing an overview of systematics and the Japanese fauna of Ophiuroidea (brittle stars and basket stars), the most diverse class of living Echinodermata. The first section presents their body plan and the history of systematic research, with a special emphasis on the order Euryalida as an example of well-studied subtaxa. The second section describes the biodiversity of ophiuroids in Japanese waters based on a comprehensive bibliographic survey of existing literature. Currently, 342 species in 120 genera and 18 families are known from Japan, which constitutes three quarters of the number of species recorded from the North Pacific area. Of the five biogeographic zones, the temperate zone contains the highest number of species (218), with similar numbers occurring in the subtropical zone (203), including elements of the highly diverse Indo-West Pacific fauna. The number of species from middle-temperate zone (111) are also relatively high, but in other northern zones, including the cool-temperate zone (16) and subarctic zone (27), the diversity is low.


Echinodermata Ophiuroidea Euryalida Systematics Japanese fauna Molecular phylogeny Morphological taxonomy