I was deathly afraid of them when I was little. My brother used to scare me with them by hurling them my way when we played in the sea during low tide.
I remember when I was in Zanzibar I saw a woman spreading vinegar in the ocean during low tide then she would collect something from the surface of the water. I thought she was collecting seaweeds. When I asked her what it was, she showed me a basket full of dead brittle stars. She called them fish...and she said they were for dinner.