brittle star


: any of a class or subclass (Ophiuroidea) of echinoderms that have slender flexible arms distinct from the central disk

Examples of brittle star in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Environmental scientists worry that harvesting nodules will send up plumes of sediment into the water and kill anything living on the seafloor, such as brittle stars and bizarre sea cucumber species like the one known as the gummy squirrel. Danielle Chemtob, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2024 Photos show the spark brittle star’s orange coloring while alive and dulled yellow tones after being preserved. Aspen Pflughoeft, Miami Herald, 5 Mar. 2024 Millions of years ago, animals in this phylum—including starfish, brittle stars, sea cucumbers and sea urchins—were all bilateral. Lori Youmshajekian, Scientific American, 3 Nov. 2023 But not all energy is created equal: thermal energy (i.e., water temperature) dictates brittle star diversity patterns at depths shallower than 2,000 meters, but chemical energy takes over in the deep sea. Jeffrey Marlow, Discover Magazine, 16 May 2016 O'Hara hopes that the discovery of this ancient lineage of brittle star will excite the public and academic community enough to justify funding for further taxonomic deep sea research. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, 21 June 2021 Scientists from the French Natural History Museum collected an ancient specimen of brittle star (Ophiojura) in 2011. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, 21 June 2021 By chance, researchers happened upon this ancient genus of brittle star—a distant relative of the starfish—during a 2011 trawling expedition on the Banc Durand seamount off the coast of New Caledonia in the Pacific. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, 21 June 2021 The carcasses of any creatures that can’t flee – worms, burrowing crabs, brittle stars – lie motionless in the mud. Sarah Kaplan, Twin Cities, 11 June 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'brittle star.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1841, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of brittle star was in 1841

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Cite this Entry

“Brittle star.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

brittle star

: any of a group of sea animals similar to the related starfishes but having slender flexible arms

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