The Ophidiasteridae (Greek ophidia, Οφιδια, "of snakes", diminutive form) are a family of sea stars with about 30 genera. Occurring both in the Indo-Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, ophidiasterids are greatest in diversity in the Indo-Pacific. Many of the genera in this family exhibit brilliant colors and patterns, which sometimes can be attributed to aposematism and crypsis to protect themselves from predators. Some ophidiasterids possess remarkable powers of regeneration, enabling them to either reproduce asexually or to survive serious damage made by predators or forces of nature (an example for this is the genus Linckia). Some species belonging to Linckia,[1] Ophidiaster [2] and Phataria [3] shed single arms that regenerate the disc and the remaining rays to form a complete individual. Some of these also reproduce asexually by parthenogenesis.[4]

Linckia laevigata
Gomophia egyptiaca Red Sea.jpg
Gomophia egyptiaca at the Red Sea
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Echinodermata
Class: Asteroidea
Order: Valvatida
Family: Ophidiasteridae

See text

The name of the family is taken from the genus Ophidiaster, whose limbs are slender, semitubular and serpentine.


These genera are accepted in the World Register of Marine Species:[5]

Fossil genera


  1. ^ McAlary, Florence A (1993). "Population Structure and Reproduction of the Fissiparous Seastar, Linckia columbiae Gray, on Santa Catalina Island, California" (Article). Retrieved 2011-07-14. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ See last paragraph in review above AnalysisHotchkiss, Frederick H. C. (2000-06-01). "On the Number of Rays in Starfish". American Zoologist. 40 (3): 340–354. doi:10.1093/icb/40.3.340.
  3. ^ Monks, Sarah P. (1904-04-01). "Variability and Autotomy of Phataria". Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. 56 (2): 596–600. ISSN 0097-3157. JSTOR 4063000.
  4. ^ Yamaguchi, M.; J. S. Lucas (1984). "Natural parthenogenesis, larval and juvenile development, and geographical distribution of the coral reef asteroid Ophidiaster granifer". Marine Biology. 83 (1): 33–42. doi:10.1007/BF00393083. ISSN 0025-3162. S2CID 84475593.
  5. ^ Ophidiasteridae World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2011-10-17.

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