Sydney has several species of brittle stars and the common name is derived from the fact that their arms fall off easily when handled or disturbed. Schayer's Brittlestar is the largest and most common brittle star found in Sydney waters
The central disc is grey with white spots and the arms are banded with black, grey and cream. Its long, flexible arms are held together with muscles and look snake-like, giving it its other common name of Snake Star.
Schayer's Brittle Star lives on intertidal rocky shores and in coastal waters to a depth of 180 m.
Schayer's Brittle Star is found in Sydney, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.
Feeding and diet
Like sea stars, brittle stars have their mouth on the underside. They filter sand and mud from the ocean floor, feeding on detritus. Their digestive system is quite simple. They have a stomach but no intestine or anus, so any waste is excreted from the mouth.
Other behaviours and adaptations
Schayer's Brittle Star is often found under boulders and moves quickly away from light when the boulder is overturned.