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New observations on California coastal ophiuroids
Jerome Mallefet*1; C McDougall2; JF Case2
(1) UCL, lab Animal Physiology, Carnoy building, 5 place Croix du Sud, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium; (2)Marine Science Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106 *(firstname.lastname@example.org)
With 34 luminescent species, the Ophiuroidea (brittle stars) is the most richly luminescent echinoderm class. Although restricted accessibility limits investigations, the present work describes luminous capabilities and control mechanisms of ophiuroids from the central California coast.
Animals were SCUBA collected and kept in aquaria at UCSB Marine Science Institute; the following species were used: Ophiopteris granulosus, Ophiothrix spiculata, Ophioplocus granulosus, Ophiopsila californica, Amphiura arcystata, Amphipholis pugetana, A. squamata and one unknown species.
Luminescence was tested by potassium chloride applications on isolated arms from specimens of each species; pharmacological tests using neurotransmitters usually found in echinoderms characterized luminescence control mechanisms.
Results indicated that Ophiopsila californica, Amphipholis squamata, Amphiura arcystata and the unknown ophiuroid are luminous while all others tested did not produce light after KCl stimulation.
Pharmacological experiments suggested a cholinergic luminescence control in Ophiopsila californica and Amphiura arcystata. The description of the new ophiuroid luminous species is in progress.
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