Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

 A reddish-brown coloured heart urchin that is longer (7 cm) than wide. The 'test' (calcareous skeletal plates, joined together to form a complete shell) is covered in mobile spines, which are coarser and sparser in comparison with Echinocardium species. Particularly characteristic of Brissopsis lyrifera is a narrow band of ciliated dark spines which rings all five ambulacra petals on the upper surface. It is the only heart urchin likely to be found in muddy sediments.
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Source: Marine Life Information Network

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Description

A heart-shaped sea urchin with an indentation at the front of the test. The fasciole on the upper side encircles all five petals of the ambulacra and is conspicuous in the living animal. It is characteristically lyre-shaped hence the specific name. About 5cm in length. The only heart urchin likely to be found in muddy sediments.
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Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

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Distribution

From 5 to more than 200 m depth, burrowing in mud or muddy sand, all round the British Isles, except the English Channel
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Source: World Register of Marine Species

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Known from the west, north and east coasts of the British Isles but not recorded from the south coast.
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Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

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Ecology

Habitat

Known from seamounts and knolls
  • Stocks, K. 2009. Seamounts Online: an online information system for seamount biology. Version 2009-1. World Wide Web electronic publication.
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Source: World Register of Marine Species

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Depth range based on 230 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 171 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 970
  Temperature range (°C): 3.311 - 15.041
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.943 - 38.118
  Salinity (PPS): 27.525 - 38.824
  Oxygen (ml/l): 1.626 - 6.963
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.123 - 2.403
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.537 - 22.289

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 970

Temperature range (°C): 3.311 - 15.041

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.943 - 38.118

Salinity (PPS): 27.525 - 38.824

Oxygen (ml/l): 1.626 - 6.963

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.123 - 2.403

Silicate (umol/l): 1.537 - 22.289
 
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 Brissopsis lyrifera lives buried in fine mud or muddy sands offshore and in shallower, stable near shore environments.
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A characteristic species of fine muddy sand, occurring in large numbers in suitable habitats with Amphiura chiajei. May be commoner in deep water, in Scottish sea lochs it is often associated with Funiculina quadrangularis. Found in depths of 5-365 metres.
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Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Brissopsis lyrifera

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 5
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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