Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

First record of the non-indigenous brittle star species Ophiothela mirabilis verrill, 1867 (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea), off Martinique Island, French Lesser Antilles.

Abstract

Ophiothela mirabilis Verrill, 1867 is a brittle star (Ophiuroidea) originating from the Pacific Ocean, introduced into the Western Atlantic Ocean in the late 2000, probably by transporting larvae in ship ballast water or associated with hull biofouling. It is reported as a non-indigenous species from southern Brazil to the southeast Florida for the northernmost area. The present study carried out by scuba diving, between October and November 2017, on the Atlantic coast of Martinique allowed us to report, for the first time, its occurrence in the French Lesser Antilles. In addition, the surveys carried out made it possible to describe O. mirabilis on 8 host gorgonian species, seven of which were previously unreported as host species: Pterogorgia anceps (Pallas, 1766), Muriceopsis flavida (Lamarck, 1815), Eunicea laxispica (Lamarck, 1815), Muricea muricata (Pallas, 1766), Muriceopsis sulphurea (Donovan, 1825), Antillogorgia acerosa (Pallas, 1766) and Eunicea flexuosa (Lamouroux, 1821). The only hosts observed during this study were gorgonians. Our study also described a habitat where 69% of gorgonians were colonized. We were able to note that on Gorgonia ventalina (Linnaeus, 1758) the density of colonization could reach ~ 3 brittle stars O. mirabilis per cm2 per side of gorgonian.