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You are here: Home / Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2019 / Field guide to the brittle and basket stars (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) of South Africa

Jennifer M. Olbers, Charles L. Griffiths, Timothy D. O'Hara and Yves Samyn (ed.) (2019)

Field guide to the brittle and basket stars (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) of South Africa

CeBIOS, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels, vol. 19, 1 ed. Abc Taxa. (ISBN: 978-9-0732-4246-3).

Brittle and basket stars (ophiuroids) are one of five extant classes of the phylum Echinodermata and have a fossil record dating back almost 500 million years to the Early Ordovician. Today, they remain diverse and widespread, with over 260 described genera and 2,077 extant species globally (Stöhr et al. 2018), more than any other class of echinoderm. Ophiuroid species are found across all marine habitats from the intertidal shore to the abyss. In southern Africa, the ophiuroid fauna has been studied extensively by a number of authors and is relatively wellknown. The last published review of the southern African Ophiuroidea however was by Clark & Courtman-Stock in 1976. It included 101 species reported from within the boundaries of South Africa. In the 40 years since that publication the number of species has risen to 136. This identification guide includes a taxonomic key to all 136 species, and gives key references, istribution maps, diagnoses, scaled photographs (where possible), and a synthesis of known ecological and depth information for each. The guide is designed to be comprehensive, well illustrated and easy to use for both naturalists and professional biologists. Taxonomic terms, morphological characteristics and technical expressions are defined and described in detail, with illustrations to clarify some aspects of the terminology. A checklist of all species in the region is also included, and indicates which species are endemic (33), for which we report significant range extensions (23), which have been recorded as new to the South African fauna (28) since the previous monograph of Clark & Courtman-Stock (1976) and which have undergone taxonomic revisions since that time (28).
RBINS Publication(s), RBINS Collection(s), PDF available, Open Access, Peer Review
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