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Embryonic, larval, and post-metamorphic development of the sea urchin Cassidulus mitis (Echinoidea; Cassiduloida): an endemic brooding species from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Contins, M.; Ventura, C.R.R. (2011). Embryonic, larval, and post-metamorphic development of the sea urchin Cassidulus mitis (Echinoidea; Cassiduloida): an endemic brooding species from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 158(10): 2279-2288. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-011-1732-5
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Contins, M.
  • Ventura, C.R.R.

Abstract
    Cassiduloids are currently rare irregular echinoids with a highly conserved adult morphology. Aristotle’s lantern is present only during the post-metamorphic stage, and little is known about the early development of species in this group. Cassidulus mitis produces eggs of about 375 µm in diameter, lecithotrophic larvae with four reduced arms with skeletal fenestrated rods, cilia along the body surface, and a ciliated band on arms and lobes. Offspring is brooded among the female spines from embryo to settler’s stage. The echinopluteus larval stage is reached 6 days after fertilization, and the settler’s stage is formed at the age of 17 days. Aristotle’s lantern appears around the thirteenth day of development. The lantern is well developed and functional in settlers. It remains until at least 62 days after fertilization and can be used to acquire food from the environment. The early development of C. mitis is unusual concerning features of typical lecithotrophic larvae (such as reduced arms), but retains some features of planktotrophic larvae (such as skeletal rods and a ciliated band). Regarding egg size, early development in C. mitis seems to be transitioning from facultative lecithotrophic to typical obligate lecithotrophic pattern in echinoid larval evolution.

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