Forty years ago I was scouring the beaches at Tenby looking for any interesting living creatures. As is so common, I only found dead ones. There were dozens of Brittle Stars washed up on the beaches. I made sure to draw them, measure them and describe them in my nature notebooks, which I had just started on that holiday.
What I didn’t say was that the mouth of a Brittle Star also functions as the anus, so Brittle Stars are closely related to Politicians.
Now, here I am with my head in a rock pool and there’s a Brittle Star and this time it’s alive.
There are 2,000 or so species of Brittle Star so I’m not attempting to identify it (although the thought of it being a Common Brittle Star is quite appealing). Most of them live in water deeper than 200 metres, so that does limit the possibilities somewhat. It’s taken me a while, but I’m thrilled to have found a live one at last.