Chemical defense in the eggs and embryos of antarctic sea stars (Echinodermata)
- Cite this article as:
- McClintock, J.B. & Vernon, J.D. Mar. Biol. (1990) 105: 491. doi:10.1007/BF01316320
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Fifteen species of reproductively mature echinoderms (11 sea stars, 3 sea urchins, 1 sea cucumber) were collected from McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, during austral spring and summer of 1985 and 1986; eggs and embryos were obtained, and were tested for ichthyonoxicity using the common marine killifishFundulus grandis as a model predator. Chemical deterrents occurred in the large, yolky eggs of the pelagic lecithotrophic sea starPerknaster fuscus and the planktotrophic sea starPorania antarctica. Brooded embryos of the sea starsDiplasterias brucei andNotasterias armata were also noxious. Significant ichthyonoxicity was not detected in the remaining 7 species of sea stars, 3 sea urchins, and 1 sea cucumber. Chemical deterrents were generally effective at concentrations below a single egg or embryo per agar test-pellet. Although chemicals found in these eggs and embryos are noxious to an allopatric fish, they may not be noxious to sympatric fish.