Explore Echinoderms (Echinodermata)
Echinoderms name comes form the Greek words for “spiny skin” which is a typical characteristic of many species in this group. They are an exclusively marine group of animals that includes well known animals like seastars. All these animals have a hollow, radially symmetrical body plan. Tube feet with tiny suckers are found in most groups which can cling to surfaces, are used for movement, and aid in obtaining food and oxygen.
Seastars typically have a central disc and usually five arms or more, each of which has a groove beneath it, running from the mouth in the middle where the tube feet, used for movement are found. To feed, seastars push their stomach out of the mouth and digest food externally before slurping it up.
There are several other important groups of echinoderms that are seen around the Bluff. These include urchins, brittle stars, feather stars, and sea cucumbers. Some local examples of these groups are described here.