Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Red sea urchins

Red sea urchins, Strongylocentrotus franciscanus

Recognition Red sea urchins have a radial symmetrical body made up of 10 fused plates or sections. These are covered in long, red spines.

Description: The creature which is so colorful, varying between a uniform red and dark burgundy, that move slowly over the sea bottom using their spines as stilts. It is one of the marine invertebrate group called echinoderms or "spiny-skinned" animals. They are close relatives of sea cucumbers.

The largest of the sea urchins are of these kinds, a maximum spine length is of 8 cm. Every other section has holes through which the sea urchin can extend its tube feet. A water vascular system presents and this will be controlling the feet. By changing the amount of water inside, the animal can extend or contract the feet. Similar to the movements of Sea stars.

Range: They prefer rocky ground with quantities of their food source of seaweeds and kelp. They avoid rocky areas exposed to extreme wave action and areas with sediments such as sand, mud and gravel.

Feeding: They have specialized jaws consists of 5 teeth used to eat greedily the plant material. Feet will be used to hold and for the support while feeding. But they can move quickly using their feet, spines, or even their teeth.
• Red Sea urchins can remove all large plant material in a particular area.
• Sea urchins are readily eaten by some fish.

Fertilization: The fertilized eggs develop into planktonic larvae before settling on the bottom where they change into tiny juvenile sea urchins. This replacement of the population appears to occur annually in local waters. New ones must hide from potential predators and many seek shelter under the spines of adult sea urchins

Interesting Fact:
Life span - They live Up to 200 years.

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1 comment:

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