Coral Reefs

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 133–142 | Cite as

Indo-Pacific echinoids in the tropical eastern Pacific

  • H. A. Lessios
  • B. D. Kessing
  • G. M. Wellington
  • A. Graybeal


The existing literature reports that only one species of Indo-Pacific echinoid (Echinometra oblonga), occurs in the eastern Pacific. In this study we confirm the presence of this species at Islas Revillagigedo and also report the presence of two species ofEchinothrix (a genus hitherto unknown outside the Indo-Pacific) at Isla del Coco and at Clipperton Island. We also present evidence from isozymes and from mitochondrial DNA sequences indicating that at least one individual ofDiadema at Clipperton may belong to a maternal lineage characteristic of the west Pacific speciesD. savignyi. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that the observed populations of Indo-Pacific echinoid species are recent arrivals to the eastern Pacific, as opposed to the view that they are relicts of Tethyan pan-tropical distributions.Echinothrix diadema, in particular, may have arrived at Isla del Coco during the 1982-1983 El Nifio. In addition to Indo-Pacific species, Clipperton, Isla del Coco and the Revillagigedos contain a complement of eastern Pacific echinoids. The echinoid faunas of these islands should, therefore, be regarded as mixtures of two biogeographic provinces. Though none of the Indo-Pacific species are known to have reached the coast of the American mainland, their presence at the offshore islands of the eastern Pacific suggests that, for some echinoids, the East Pacific Barrier is not as formidable an obstacle to migration as was previously thought.


Migration Sedimentology Literature Report Lineage Characteristic Maternal Lineage 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. A. Lessios
    • 1
  • B. D. Kessing
    • 1
  • G. M. Wellington
    • 2
  • A. Graybeal
    • 1
  1. 1.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteBalboaPanama
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA

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