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Brittle stars or ophiuroids are echinoderms in the class Ophiuroidea closely related to starfish. They crawl across the sea floor using their flexible arms for locomotion. The ophiuroids generally have five long, slender, whip-like arms which may reach up to 60 cm (24 in) in length on the largest specimens. They are also known as serpent stars; the New Latin class name Ophiuroidea is derived from the Ancient Greek ὄφις, meaning "serpent".
The Ophiuroidea contain two large clades, Ophiurida (brittle stars) and Euryalida (basket stars). Over 2,000 species of brittle stars live today. More than 1200 of these species are found in deep waters, greater than 200 m deep.
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