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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Cladus: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Cladus: Holozoa
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Echinodermata
Subphylum: Eleutherozoa
Superclassis: Cryptosyringida
Classis: Ophiuroidea
Subclasse: Myophiuroidea
Infraclasse: Metophiurida
Superordo: Euryophiurida
Ordo: Ophiurida
Subordines (2): Ophiomusina – Ophiurina
Genera incertae sedis (17): Abyssura – Anophiura – Anthophiura – Bathylepta – Haplophiura – Ophiochalcis – Ophiochrysis – Ophiochytra – Ophiolebella – Ophiomaria – Ophiomastus – Ophiopenia – Ophiotjalfa – Ophiotrochus – Ophiuraster – Perlophiura – Uriopha

[source: World Ophiuroidea database (WoRMS 2018)]

Ophiurida Müller & Troschel, 1840

Primary references

Müller, J. & Franz Hermann Troschel 1840. Über die Gattungen der Ophiuren. Archiv Für Naturgeschichte 6: 326–330. BHL

Additional references

Rodrigues, C.F. et al. 2011. Deep-sea ophiuroids (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea: Ophiurida) from the Gulf of Cadiz (NE Atlantic). Zootaxa 2754: 1–26. Preview. Full article (PDF).
O’Hara, T.D., Hugall, A.F., Thuy, B., Stöhr, S. & Martynov, A. 2017. Restructuring higher taxonomy using broad-scale phylogenomics: The living Ophiuroidea. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 107: 415–430. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2016.12.006 Reference page.
O’Hara, T.D., Stöhr, S., Hugall, A.F., Thuy, B. & Martynov, A. 2018. Morphological diagnoses of higher taxa in Ophiuroidea (Echinodermata) in support of a new classification. European Journal of Taxonomy 416: 1–35. DOI: 10.5852/ejt.2018.416 Open access Reference page.


Ophiurida in the World Register of Marine Species

The Ophiurida are an order of echinoderms within the class Ophiuroidea. It includes the vast majority of living brittle stars.


Ophiurida have bursae for respiration and excretion, and dorsal and ventral arm shields are present and usually well developed. Arms are unbranched and incapable of coiling vertically. Most are five-armed, some with 4 or 6 arms as an abnormality, but others properly bear six or seven arms. The madreporite is on the oral surface. The digestive glands are entirely within the central disc.[2] They move their arms side to side by means of ball-and-socket joints. Tropical species tend to contrast color from the environment, but most others prefer to blend in. These biochromes do not include echinochromes.
Systematics and phylogeny

There is currently no consensus as to the subdivision of the Ophiurida. The order has been divided into the following suborders and infraorders [3]


Another classification scheme divides it into the following suborders:[4]

Chilophiurina Matsumoto, 1915
Laemophiurina Matsumoto, 1915
Ophiothricidae Ljungman, 1867 (= Ophiotrichidae)
Ophiurina Müller & Troschel, 1840

Another classification scheme divides it as:[5]



Ophiurida have a world-wide distribution range and are found in oceans in different depths. Most of them are herbivores or detritus feeders.

E.Clarkson, E.N.K. Clarkson, Invertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution. Wiley-Blackwell; 4.ed. (1998)
R.C.Brusca, G.J.Brusca. Invertebrates. Sinauer Associates, 2 ed.(2003)
Smith, A. B.; Paterson, G. L. J.; Lafay, B. (1995). "Ophiuroid phylogeny and higher taxonomy: morphological, molecular and palaeontological perspectives". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 114 (2): 213–243. doi:10.1006/zjls.1995.0024.
European Register of Marine Species
Mikko's Phylogeny Archive

Echinodermata Images

Biology Encyclopedia

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