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Examples that Echinoderms. Girlfriend may have seen sea stars and also sand dollars in ~ the beach since they live in shallow water close to the shore. Other echinoderms, such as feather stars, room less commonly seen because they live in the deep ocean.

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Structure and role of Echinoderms

Echinoderms are named for their “spiny skin.” However, the spines aren’t on their skin. Lock are part of the endoskeleton. The endoskeleton consists of calcium lead carbonate plates and spines, spanned by a thin layer of skin. Adult echinoderms have actually radial symmetry. This is simple to see in the sea star and sand dollar in Figure above. However, echinoderms developed from an ancestor through bilateral symmetry. Evidence for this is the bilateral the contrary of their larvae.

A unique feature of echinoderms is their water vascular system. This is a network the canals that extend along each body part. In many echinoderms, the canals have outside projections dubbed tube feet (see Figure below). The feet have suckers top top the ends. Muscle contractions force water into the feet, resulting in them to prolong outward. Together the feet extend, they connect their suckers to brand-new locations, farther far from your previous clues of attachment. This results in a slow yet powerful kind of movement. The suckers are really strong. They can also be supplied to pry open up the shells of prey.


Tube Feet of a Sea Star. The tube feet of a sea star (in white) are part of the water vascular system. Over there is a sucker top top the finish of every foot that permits the pet to “walk” slowly over a surface. The suckers are solid enough to pry open up shells.

Echinoderms absence respiratory and excretory systems. Instead, the thin walls of their pipe feet enable oxygen come diffuse in and also wastes come diffuse out. Echinoderms additionally lack a central nervous system. They have an open up circulatory system and lack a heart. On the other hand, echinoderms have a well-developed coelom and also a finish digestive system. Echinoderms use pheromones to communicate with each other. They detect the chemicals v sensory cells on their body surface. Part echinoderms also have basic eyes (ocelli) that have the right to sense light. Choose annelids, echinoderms have the ability to regenerate a absent body part.

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Echinoderm Classification

Living echinoderms are placed in 5 classes. These five classes show countless similarities. Organisms in each course are defined in Table below.

class (includes) description Example


feathers stars sea lilies
fewer than 100 species; numerous have more than 5 arms; earliest and most primitive echinoderms; live on the s floor, mainly in deep water; filter feeders

feather star



sea stars
almost 2000 species; most have 5 arms; many are brightly colored; live on the ocean floor, largely in shallow water; predators or scavengers

sea star



brittle stars
about 2000 species; central disk distinctive from arms; move by flapping their arms, which absence suckers; live ~ above the s floor in shallow or deep water; predators, scavengers, deposit feeders, or filter feeders

brittle star