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Morphological diversity of larval skeletons in the sea urchin family Echinometridae (Echinoidea: Echinodermata)
Kinjo, S.; Uehara, T.; Yazaki, I.; Shirayama, Y.; Wada, H. (2006). Morphological diversity of larval skeletons in the sea urchin family Echinometridae (Echinoidea: Echinodermata). J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. 86(4): 799-816
In: Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Cambridge University Press/Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom: Cambridge. ISSN 0025-3154, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Animal morphology; Invertebrate larvae; Skeleton; Spatial variations; Echinometridae Gray, 1855 [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Kinjo, S.
  • Uehara, T.
  • Yazaki, I.
  • Shirayama, Y.
  • Wada, H.

Abstract
    To clarify the morphological variety of larval skeletons, a detailed morphological comparison among the species of the family Echinometridae was performed. Through conspecific comparison of larval skeletons among different ages, five skeletal characters of the body skeleton that are stable in the four-armed pluteus and thus useful in homologous comparison among the species were found. The morphological variation was summarized as the difference in the number of spines and posteroventral transverse rods, and differences in the shape of the body skeleton. Significant correlations were found between some skeletal characters, such as between upper body length and bottom width of body skeleton and between lower body length and the number of spines. It was found that the larval skeletons of tropical species tend to have fewer spines and rods than those of temperate species, which is consistent with the hypothesis that a reduction in skeletal elements decreases the specific gravity of larvae as an adaptation to tropical waters.

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