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A ship’s rogue

A brittle star measuring only two cm in diameter, Ophiothela mirabilis, native to the Pacific Ocean, was photographed by marine biologist Alvaro Esteves Migotto in the Atlantic Ocean off the Brazilian coast. The brittle star has become an abundant invasive species in the 10-15-meter shallow waters off southeastern Brazil.  Its more frequent occurrence in the Atlantic Ocean was recently the subject of an article in the journal Coral Reefs. “The species probably arrived here as a stowaway on a shipping freighter,” says the biologist. The photograph he took above was among the 10 best in Nikon’s Small World 2012  annual photomicrography competition (

Photo submitted by Alvaro Esteves Migotto University of São Paulo Center for Marine Biology

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