A new study published in Frontiers in Zoology examined the developmental process involved in regulating limb regeneration in brittle stars (Amphiura filiformis) following amputation of an arm. Limb regeneration is a multi-stage process involving initial healing and repair of the wounded site, initial growth of the limb followed by development of more complex layers of cells until ultimately the limb has been fully regenerated. Understanding this process in brittle stars may lead to better understanding of limb regeneration in other echinoderms or at least methodologies that can examine the process in other animals.
The ability for brittle stars to regenerate limbs so readily is more than likely an adaptation to avoid predation.
A Czarkwiani, C Ferrario, DV Dylus, M Sugni, P Oliveri. Skeletal regeneration in the brittle star Amphiura filiformis. Frontiers in Zoology. 13:18, 2016. DOI: 10.1186/s12983-016-0149-x