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Locomotor performance in the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus
Domenici, P.; González-Calderón, D.; Ferrari, R.S. (2003). Locomotor performance in the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus. J. Mar. Biol. Ass. U.K. 83(2): 285-292
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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    Controlled conditions; Locomotion; Sea urchins; Sea urchins; Paracentrotus lividus (Lamarck, 1816) [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Domenici, P.
  • González-Calderón, D.
  • Ferrari, R.S.

    The locomotor performance of the Mediterranean sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus was investigated under laboratory conditions. Individuals were placed singly in the centre of a glass surface positioned either horizontally or vertically in tanks with seawater, and their locomotor activity was recorded. For locomotion on a horizontal surface, speed increased with both sea urchin diameter and their straightness of path. Speeds on a vertical surface were size-independent and not related to the straightness of path, although they were affected by vertical path orientation, with the highest speeds occurring for downward movements and the slowest speeds for the upward movements. Taken together, these results suggest that the scaling of sea urchin locomotion may follow similar laws to those of legged animals, for which locomotor performance increases with size on horizontal surface, while their relative cost of locomotion increases with body size on inclined surfaces. It is suggested that differences in horizontal vs vertical locomotion may also be related to differences in the underlying locomotor mechanisms, i.e. using adhesive appendices (tube feet) or levers (spines). In a second experiment, the sea urchin speed obtained during a negative phototactic response to a direct light stimulus was recorded. The results show that speed during light stimulation is higher than that during spontaneous locomotion in sea urchins of intermediate size (2·5-4 cm), suggesting that, in addition to the direction of locomotion as shown by previous studies, light can also have an effect on speed.

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