DEEP-SEA PAGES:
DEEP-SEA ECHINODERMS

Paul H. Yancey, Whitman College
Updated Oct. 2009!

Return to my MAIN DEEP-SEA PAGE for details on animal collection and for TOPIC CONTENTS (or use pull-down menu, below right).
If you copy and use photos, please WRITE for PERMISSION first at email just below. Some of these photos are mine, others are ones I took from the ROV Oceanic Explorer's camera monitor.

If you can help us identify species with a *, please contact me at the email just above.
Note: many of the specimens have been deposited at the Field Museum in Chicago and loans of the material can be arranged through Janet Voight (voight@fmnh.org) or John Slapcinsky (Slapcin@fmnh.org)
OTHER TOPICS



ECHINODERMS:
Holothuroids, Asteroids, Ophiuroids, Echinoids, and Crinoids
Echinoderms ("spiny skin") are one of the few animal phyla that are totally marine. They typically have a unique five-fold symmetry and a unique locomotory system consisting of hundreds of tube feet. Most groups are quite common in shallow waters, but for unknown reasons, they are extremely successful in the deep. Sea cucumbers (and seapigs --pictures below, and diagrammed to the left) (Holothuroidea) are often the most common macroscopic animal in deep dredges.The seapig Scotoplanes galatheae has been caught at 10,000m in the Kermadec Trench! Most plow along like worms and engulf the deepsea mud, digesting organics and bacteria. However, there are some species which can swim above the bottom. Seastars or Starfish (Asteroidea) creep along with their tube feet and eat live prey and dead remains. Brittle and basket stars (Ophiuroidea) use their flexible arms rather than tube feet. Brittles move through the mud, scooping up organic remains; some brittles and the basket stars catch floating organic particles. Sea urchins (Echinoidea) are ovoid and covered with spines; they probably eat organic remains. They are usually rigid, but some of the abyssal ones are curiously soft and flexible. Sea lilies (Crinoidea) are like inverted starfish, with their arms up in the current to catch organic particles.

**CLICK PICTURE FOR LARGE VERSION** Depth ranges are kindly provided by Ruben Pohl.
A. OREGON/CALIFORNIA BATHYAL AND ABYSSAL: (a) = abyssal plain (2300-2850m), (b) = bathyal zone--continental slope (1800-2000m) off Newport, Oregon; (mb) = 1000-3000m in Monterey Bay Canyon
Holothuroidea (sea cucumbers)
cucumber1
cucumber2.cucumber2
cucumber3
cucumber4
seapig1
seapig2
Sea Cucumber(a)
Molpadia intermedia

(50-2800m)
Swimming Cucumber(a)(mb)*
(Benthodytes sanguinolenta?)
(500-5000m)
Cucumber3(b)*
uncertain species
Cucumber4(b)*
Seapig1(a)* -- Scotoplanes globosa
or clarkii (450-6900m)
Seapig (mb)
Scotoplanes sp.
Sea cucumber (mb)*
Pannychia moselei?, 1000m
Sea cucumber (mb)*
??, 1000m
Seapig cucumber (mb)
Scotoplanes spp, 1500m
Sea cucumber (mb)*
2000m
Sea cucumber (mb)*
3000m
"Football" cucumber (mb)*
3000m (similar to #4 above)
Asteroidea (sea stars)
star1
star2star3
star3
star4
star5
star6
Seastar=?* (mb)
Slimestar2(b)*
(Hymenaster pellucidus??)
Miscellaneous stars
(mb, 3000m)*
Red seastar(b)
Hippasterias (californica?)
Seastar(b)
Mediaster sp. (tennellus?)
Mudstar(b)
Thrissacanthus pencillatus

(mainly 300-1500m)
Asteroidea (continued); Echinoidea (sea urchins); Crinoidea (sea lilies); Ophiuroidea (brittle/basket stars
star7
star8
star9
urchin
urchin2
crinoid
basketstar1
Seastar(b)
Pseudarchaster parelii
(150-2800m)
Seastar(b) Solaster sp. (borealis?)
Seastar(b)
Zoroaster sp.
Soft Sea urchin(a)
Tromikosoma panamense?

(1900-3300m)
Long-spined Sea urchin =?*(mb)
(from 3000m)

Crinoid(b)* or sea lily
(Florometra seratissima?)

Brittle star(b) Asteronyx (loveni?)
(ophiuroid; 100-2500m)
*Pictures with "*" are ones we haven't identified at the species level.

B. CALIFORNIA/OREGON SUBTIDAL: From Eel River seeps off Eureka at 510-525m (er); and Hydrate Ridge off Newport (OR) at 600m (hr). Photos of specimens by me, or taken from ROV monitor and Alvin cameras

.
Sea cucumber??* (er)
from 1200m
Sea cucumber (er)
Pannychia moselei?
Sea urchins (hr)*
Brittle star Asteronyx sp (er)*
living on seapens
Brittle stars (er)* from rock, mud
Seastar (er)
Rathbunaster californicus

134-675m depth
Sand star (hr)
Dipsacaster sp.
Red seastar (hr)
Cryptopeltaster lepidonotus
Crinoid (er)*
living inside Goiter Sponge

Reference books:
Deep-Sea Biology by J.D. Gage & P.A. Taylor, Cambridge University Press, 1992.
Abyss by C.P. Idyll, Crowell Co., 1971