Master of Disguise; The Sea Urchin

on Thursday, March 31, 2011

Have you ever gone somewhere not wanting to see anyone you know, and instead you end up running into EVERYONE you know? Often at these times we think of how wonderful it would be to become invisible, but from now on I am going to think of how wonderful it would be to become a sea urchin. Sea urchins are marine animals that belong to the phylum echinoderms.

This is the same phylum that includes sea stars, sea cucumbers, and brittle stars. A characteristic of echinoderms is their pentamerism radial symmetry. Pentamerism radial symmetry is a division of the body into five parts. The internal organs of sea urchins are surrounded by a skeleton, called a test. The test is made out of calcium carbonate and divides the sea urchin body into the five ambulacra and inter-ambulacral areas. Each of the five ambulacra and inter-ambulacral areas contain two rows of plates. Tubercles cover each plate, in which the infamous spines of the urchin are attached.

Another characteristic that sea urchins have, along with other echinoderms is a water vascular system. The water vascular system is a hydraulic system that functions in locomotion, respiration, and food and waste transportation. An essential part of the water vascular system that aids in locomotion are tube feet. The tube feet allow the sea urchin to move and/or attach to surfaces in the ocean. While the tube feet aid in locomotion, they can also aid in camouflage. Sea urchins are able to hide from their predators by using their tube feet to pick up parts of their surroundings, such as seaweed and small rocks. They then cover their bodies in these objects and are able to blend in with their surroundings thus evading their predators.

Oh, what I would give to be able to blend in with my surroundings, just like sea urchins, in order to evade the people that I know when running my errands. It definitely sounds better than trying to hide in a clothes rack, or finding a distant aisle to hide in.


Stephanie said...

I really liked this post. It was easy to read and had interesting information. I also liked that your intro and conclusion had a real-life relatability/comparison. Your title was effective at capturing my attention and conveying an aspect of your post.

KT Huff said...

Sea urchins were one of my favorite animals that we got to play with in Marine Biology. They are very interesting organisms and not only are good at hiding from predators but they are also very useful for human purposes. Their genome is very comparable to the human genome and are therefore used for many different medical studies. Very cool

Patrick Schnieders said...

A post about sea urchins! YES!
(I think sea urchins are awesome.)

Anyway, great post. It was very informative and I was hooked right away because I can easily relate with your examples of trying to avoid people in public.

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