a1 Department of Oceanography, University College of Swansea, Singleton Park, Swansea, SA2 8PP
a2 Dunstaffnage Marine Research Laboratory, Oban, Scotland, PA34 4AD
Ophiacantha bidentata (Retzius) is a widespread arctic-boreal ophiuroid with a circumpolar distribution in the shallow waters of the Arctic seas and penetrating into the deep sea of the.North Atlantic and North Pacific (Mortensen, 1927, 1933a; D'yakonov, 1954). Early observations of this species were confined to defining zoogeo-graphical and taxonomic criteria including the separation of deep water specimens as the variety fraterna (Farran, 1912; Grieg, 1921; Mortensen, 1933a). Mortensen (1910) and Thorson (1936, pp. 18–26) noted the large eggs (o.8 mm diameter) in specimens from Greenland and Thorson (1936) proposed that this species had ‘big eggs rich in yolk, shed directly into the sea. Much reduced larval stage or direct development’. This evidence is supported by observations of O. bidentata from the White and Barents Seas (Semenova, Mileikovsky & Nesis, 1964; Kaufman, 1974)..