The Echinoderms

  • A. O. D. Willows
  • W. C. Corning


Superficial observation of the echinoderms might lead one to assume that these animals are not only sluggish and clumsy in their behavior, but also extremely inefficient in the execution of their life activities. Careful investigation, however, has shown that these organisms behave in a manner which is highly satisfactory for their habitat and mode of life. With their rather extraordinary equipment and their peculiar habits, speed of movement is not necessary for an effective execution of the hazardous business of living. By means of their muscular walls, their tube feet, and their pedicellariae, many groups of these creatures are able to carry out a wide range of manipulatory responses, activities which could easily be the subject of envy on the part of man. With these organs the animal keeps the integument clear of dirt and incrusting organism; also, it captures active prey, overpowers it, and transports it over any part of the body surface toward the region of the mouth. It is very much as if the entire body of a human being were bristling with hundreds of hands varying greatly in structure and complexity to meet the diverse needs of the organism (Warden et al., 1940, p. 412).


Radial Nerve Nerve Ring Escape Time Brittle Star Sand Dollar 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. O. D. Willows
    • 1
  • W. C. Corning
    • 2
  1. 1.Friday Harbor LaboratoriesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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