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Larval growth and perimetamorphosis in the echinoid Echinocardium cordatum (Echinodermata): the spatangoid way to become a sea urchin
P. Nunes, C.D.A.; Jangoux, M. (2007). Larval growth and perimetamorphosis in the echinoid Echinocardium cordatum (Echinodermata): the spatangoid way to become a sea urchin. Zoomorphology 126(2): 103-119. dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00435-007-0032-6
In: Zoomorphology. Springer-Verlag: Berlin; Heidelberg. ISSN 0720-213X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine
Author keywords
    Echinocardium cordatum; development larval growth; metamorphosis;postlarva

Authors  Top 
  • P. Nunes, C.D.A., more
  • Jangoux, M., more

Abstract
    The prejuvenile development of Echinocardium cordatum (Echinoidea) was investigated by means of scanning electron, confocal and light microscopes, aiming to illustrate the early life history of a spatangoid representative and to compare it with the other major echinoid groups. During the larval development of E. cordatum, two periods follow one another. The first one takes 12 days; it ends with the formation of a complete echinopluteus with twelve elongated larval arms. The second lasts from 3 to 12 days; it is entirely devoted to the building of the echinid rudiment and ends with the acquisition of larval competence. No appendage other than arms develops at the larva’s outer surface. Competent larvae are demersal. They settle onto the substratum and test it for suitability using the five rudiment podia that protrude through the vestibule opening. Metamorphosis is a rapid event that lasts less than an hour. The rudiment does not everse and its spines and podia actively tear up the larval epidermis which is progressively covered by the growing vestibular epidermis. The resulting postlarva is short-lived and morphologically similar to both the late rudiment and the early juvenile, which, however, is exotrophic. Late rudiments in E. cordatum show basic spatangoid features being bilaterally symmetric and having clavulae and sphaeridia. More importantly, they already have the convex shape and the appendage cover of early juveniles. Metamorphosis in E. cordatum appears to be less complex, i.e. no rudiment is everted, and more complete, since, in contrast to “regular” echinoids, no transitory appendages are seen. Metamorphosis/development of E. cordatum, thus, is closer to that of clypeasteroids, since the rudiment of the latter already bears juvenile definitive appendages, when everted during metamorphsis.

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