Characteristics of Phylum Echinodermata

 

1.- Unique water-vascular system of coelomic origin extends from body surface as series of tentacle-like projections

     (podia, or tube feet) protracted by increase of fluid pressure within them; opening to exterior (madreporite or

     hydropore) usually present.

 

2.- Living in marine habitats.

 

3.- Free-living taxa.

 

4.- Body unsegmented (nonmetameric) with pentaradial symmetry; body rounded, cylindrical, or star-shaped, with five       or more radiating areas, or ambulacra, alternating with interambulacral areas; no head.

 

5.- Triploblastic body.

 

6.- Coelom extensive, forming perivisceral cavity and cavity of water-vascular system; coelom of enterocoelous type;

      coelomic fluid with amebocytes.

 

7.- Endoskeleton of dermal calcareous ossicles with spines or of calcareous spicules in dermis; covered by epidermis

     (ciliated in most); pedicellariae (in some).

 

8.- Digestive system usually complete; axial or coiled; anus absent in ophiuroids.

 

9.- Skeletal elements connected by ligaments of mutable collagenous tissue under neural control, ligaments can be              “locked” into rigid posture or relaxed to allow free movement at will; locomotion by tube feet, which project from            ambulacral areas, by movement of spines, or by movement of arms, which project from central disc of body.

 

10.- Nervous system with circumoral ring and radial nerves; usually two or three systems of networks located at                      different levels in the body, varying in degree of development according to group.

 

11.- No brain; few specialized sensory organs; sensory system of tactile and chemoreceptors, podia, terminal tentacles,

      photoreceptors, and statocysts.

 

12.- Autotomy and regeneration of lost parts conspicuous; asexual reproduction by fragmentation in some.

 

13.- Sexes separate (except a few hermaphroditic) with large gonads, single in holothuroids but multiple in most; simple

      ducts, with no elaborate copulatory apparatus or secondary sexual structures; fertilization usually external; eggs

      brooded in some; development through free-swimming, bilateral, larval stages (some with direct development);

      metamorphosis to radial adult or subadult form; radial cleavage and regulative development.

 

14.- Excretory organs absent.

 

15.- Respiration by papulae, tube feet, respiratory tree (holothuroids), and bursae (ophiuroids).

 

16.- Blood-vascular system (hemal system) much reduced, playing little if any role in circulation, and surrounded by

       extensions of coelom (perihemal sinuses); main circulation of body fluids (coelomic fluids) by peritoneal cilia.

 

 

Referense:

Integrated principles of zoology / Cleveland P. Hickman, Jr. ... [et al.]. – 14th ed. p. cm.

© 2014 - 2019​

Thomas Heran Arce

Underwater photography,  Chile

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