CLASSIFICATION OF OPHIOLEPIS
KINGDOM :- ANIMALIA (Multicellular eukaryotic organisms)
PHYLUM :- ECHINODERMATA (Coelomate, pentaradiate and spiny skinned animals with vascular system.)
SUB-PHYLUM :- ELEUTHEROZOA (Non-pedicellate and free-living.)
CLASS :- OPHIUROIDEA (Central disc and arms distinct.)
ORDER :- OPHIURIDA (Arms bent only to lateral sides.)
FAMILY :- OPHIOLEPIDIDAE
GENUS :- Ophiolepis
Distributed from tropical to polar regions and they have been collected from depths of 6,000 m.
HABIT AND HABITAT
They are abundant in littoral zone hidden often in the sand and other objects. Some live in sponges.
GENERAL CHARACTERSTICS OF OPHIOLEPIS
- Commonly called as Brittle stars.
- Oral and aboral surfaces well differentiated.
- Central disc and arms quite distinct. Arms contain podia.
- Mesodermal endoskeleton consits of c1acareous ossic1es.
- Central disc of aboral surface is composed of radial shield, lateral arms shield, aboral shield, central plate and primary concentric plates.
- Central disc has primitive concentric arrangement of plates.
- Branchial, dermal papillae and pedicellarea are absent.
The animal has primitive concentric arrangement of plates in central disc and all above features, hence, it is Ophiolepis.