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PHYLUM ECHINODERMATA: Sea Stars & Their Relatives
Distinguishing Characteristics:
Fill in the distinguishing animal characteristics table using the information from the site.
Anatomy and Physiology:
Overall Body Plan & Structures
1. Even though adult echinoderms exhibit radial symmetry, what makes them more related to bilateral organisms
than to cnidarians and other radial organisms?
2. What type of radial symmetry do most echinoderms have? Describe it.
3. Describe these three characteristics unique to echinoderms:
Ossicles
Water vascular system
Tube feet
4. Differentiate the aboral and oral side of an echinoderm.
Feeding and Digestion
5. Describe the two types of stomach’s of a sea star and explain the function of each.
6. Describe how a sea star eats a clam and explain why the clam eventually fatigues but the sea star does not.
Respiration & Circulation:
7. Do echinoderms have circulatory excretory, or respiratory organs? If not, why are they not necessary
Sensory & Movement
8. Echinoderms have a unique hydraulic system for movement. Describe by explaining the path of water through
the water vascular system. Make sure to include the madreporite, stone canal, ring canal, radial canal, and
ampulla in your explanation.
9. What are some advantages of the water vascular system?
10. Since echinoderms are not bilaterial symmetrical they lack what structure of cephalization?
11. What structure do echinoderms use to sense stimuli?
Reproduction:
12. Are most echinoderms a single sex or hermaphroditic? How many eggs do echinoderms lay in a year?
13. Is fertilization external or internal?
14. What is the larvae of a echinoderm called and what is its pattern of symmetry?
15. Why is regeneration an advantage for echinoderms?
Classification & Distribution:
Classes
Examples
Unique fact or structures
Distribution / # Species
Crinoidea
Ophiuroidea
Echinoidea
Holothuroidea
Asteroidea
Quick Fact:
Not all sea stars eject their stomach and predigest food outside their body. The
sun star, which feeds on sea urchins, swallows the prey whole