The Interesting Incrassata

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Nutramar Foods

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Ophiarachna incrassata is one of a large group of sea stars that we often lump together as “Brittle Stars,” and is most often referred to as the Fancy Green Brittle Star. It is also, somewhat unimaginatively also called the Large Brittle Star. In Germany, they call it Olivgrüner Schlangenstern, and we thought this might be more interesting, but no, it translates as, you guessed it, Olive Green Brittle Star. Luckily, behind that boring nomenclature, lies an animal that is quite interesting indeed. Fancy Brittle Stars get large (as far as brittle stars go). Their central disc (carapace) can be more than 2 inches across, and their legs can get up to nine inches long too! They can also move surprisingly quickly, and there is a lot of videos online showing exactly this. They can be found in all the worlds tropical seas except the Atlantic. They live in shallow water not often more than 30 feet deep, usually on flats adjacent to reefs where they make homes in seagrass beds and algae conglomerations. They are prominent scavengers, but they are also predators, and this is where the story goes off the normal brittle star timeline.

If you are planning to keep one, just plan your other fish to be slightly too large for your Fancy Brittle Star to eat. They can be kept with snails and hermits, though they will certainly consume these when they die (a very useful service actually as snails tend to be nasty when they die, and also tend to do it in places that are mostly unreachable). We feed our Fancy Green Brittle Stars small bits of thawed, marine, meaty food. They'll love krill and chopped prawn. Cockle on the half shell from Gamma Foods is a perfect treat for your Fancy Green Brittle Star. We do recommend that you give yours supplemental foods, though not very frequently. One to two times per week is plenty, even in a small aquarium. Click here to learn more


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