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 Asterias

Image of Echinodermata (Asterias spp.), courtesy of Pratt, 1916 from Gulf of Mexico Origin, Waters, and Biota, Chapter 71, Page 1178
Asterias spp. [Image: Pratt, 1916, Gulf of Mexico Origin, Waters, and Biota, Chapter 71, Page 1178]

Asterias is in the class Asteroidea, also known as starfish or sea stars.  The genus Asterias contains some of the most commonly recognized species of sea stars, such as Asteria rubens (common starfish).


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 Phylum: Echinodermata (Sea Stars, Sea Urchins)

Echinodermata is a marine phylum comprised of sea stars, sea lillies, brittle stars, sea urchins and sea cucumbers. There are 512 species documented from the Gulf of Mexico. Echinoderms are almost exclusively benthic, attaching to firm substrates (sea lillies, basket stars, sea urchins), burrowing into soft substrates (sea stars and sea cucumbers) or living freely on the sea floor (sea stars, brittle stars, sea urchins and sea cucumbers).

Image of ruby brittle star, Ophioderma rubicundum, courtesy of G.P. Schmahl, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary
Ruby brittle star (Ophioderma rubicundum) [Photo: G.P. Schmahl, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary]

Echinoderms reproduce sexually through external fertilization. The fertilized eggs develop into planktonic larvae which eventually settle onto the sea bottom and metamorphose into adult echinoderms. Echinoderms feed on both live prey and detritus. Some of the groups are suspension feeders while others forage on the seabed.

 

 

(Information from Gulf of Mexico Origin, Waters, and Biota: Volume 1, Biodiversity, Texas A&M University Press 2009).


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 Thyone

Image of Echinodermata (Thyone spp.), courtesy of Pratt, 1916, from Gulf of Mexico Origin, Waters and Biota, Chapter 71, page 1179
Thyone spp. [Image: Pratt, 1916, Gulf of Mexico Origin, Waters, and Biota, Chapter 71, Page 1179]

Thyone is a genus of the class Holothuroidea, or sea cucumbers. The genus Thyone includes Thyone adinopoda, a species which is endemic to the Gulf of Mexico. Sea cucumbers have long, spiny, tube-like bodies with finger-like tentacles around their mouth.


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