Overview

Brief Summary

Clypeasteroids are considered radially symmetrical. The bony ossicles of this species fuse together, forming a calcareous, disk-shaped shell or test. The test is covered with short, movable, densely-distributed spines that aid in movement though sand while feeding. The aboral surface bears five conspicuous flower petal-like structures, called petalloids, which are used in respiration. The test color ranges yellow to dark tan. Clypeasteroids live in the sand fields or the shelly sediment in the warm waters of the Caribbean and Atlantic and feed on organic material, including diatoms.

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Distribution

Geographic Range

This species is found in the Caribbean Sea and along the Atlantic coast, ranging fron North Carolina to the east coast of central America to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Hendler, et al 1995).

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native ); neotropical (Native )

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In Panama this species has been collected in the Caribbean from Pico Feo Island (USNM E 40089 & USNM E 18811) and Miria Island (USNM E 18767), San Blas, and from Cayo Crawl, between Popa and Bastimentos Islands, Bocas Del Toro (USNM E 36660; depth 0 to 10 m).

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Source: The Echinoderms of Panama

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they are also found in yhe gulf of mexico from the fla keys all the way around to texas.have not changed much in millions of years.there are many more spiecies than shown here.

  • i commercialy fished for them for over 10 years and studyed them extensively.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

Clypeasteroids are considered radially symmetrical. However, they show slight bilateral symmetry because they tend to be slightly elongated, an adaption to facilitate movement through sediment. The bony ossicles of this species fuse together, forming a calcareous, disk-shaped shell or test. The test is covered with short, movable, densely-distributed spines that aid in movement though sand while feeding. The aboral surface bears five conspicuous flower petal-like structures, called petalloids. These are actually the ambulacral grooves. Each petalliod is equal in size and consists of two double rows of paired pores used in respiration. Petalloids also contain tube feet that function in respiration. Unlike tube feet seen elsewhere, they lack suckers at the ends and do not function in locomotion (Fox 1994). Clypeaster subdepressus is large, up to 300 millimeters in length. The oral surface is quite flat, with a slight concavity at the mouth. The test color ranges yellow to dark tan (Hendler, et al 1995).

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Diagnostic Description

References and links

Mortensen, T. (1948). A monograph of the Echinoidea 4(2). Clypeasteroida. Copenhagen. 471 pp., 258 figures, 72 pls; pages: 112-116.

GenBank

The Echinoid Directory

World Echinoidea Database

LSID urn:lsid:marinespecies.org:taxname:422499
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Synonymised taxa

Clypeaster (Stolonoclypus) subdepressus (Gray, 1825) (subgeneric subdivision of Clypeaster not accepted by scientific community)
Clypeaster subdepressum (Gray, 1825) (incorrect declination of species name)
Echinanthus subdepressus Gray, 1825 (transferred to Clypeaster)
Stolonoclypus subdepressus (Gray, 1825) (transferred to Clypeaster)

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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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Clypeaster subdepressus lives in the sand fields or the shelly sediment in the warm waters of the Caribbean and Atlantic, where there is no or little grass (Hendler, et al 1995).

Aquatic Biomes: coastal

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Depth range based on 167 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 97 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 1 - 236
  Temperature range (°C): 19.256 - 26.731
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.245 - 3.012
  Salinity (PPS): 35.785 - 37.014
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.257 - 4.984
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.056 - 0.290
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.756 - 3.912

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 1 - 236

Temperature range (°C): 19.256 - 26.731

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.245 - 3.012

Salinity (PPS): 35.785 - 37.014

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.257 - 4.984

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.056 - 0.290

Silicate (umol/l): 0.756 - 3.912
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Trophic Strategy

Food Habits

Clypeaster subdepressus feeds upon the organic material, including diatoms, found in the coarse biogenic sands in which it is buried. This species selects the larger grains to ingest using oral surface accessory podia endowed with sensory cells (Hendler, et al 1995). It filters through the substrate and the food-bearing material is translocated to the ambulacral grooves where it is covered in mucus and conducted by the podia and spines toward the mouth (Banister and Campbell 1985). The Aristotle's lantern is the name for the strong jaws of this animal that grind the sand particles for digestion. The five bird-shaped ossicles (sometimes called "doves") found in dry sand dollars are actually the five pyramids that bear their five slender teeth. This species has a complete digestive system, including a esophagus, stomach and intestine. The anus is located just posterior to the mouth on the oral surface of the test (Fox 1994). Sand grains chosen for digestion are cleaned by the digestive system, then "clean" substrate (without any organic material) is passed out through the anus. There is a great quanitity of sand that passes through their digestive system each day (Lerman 1986).

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

The sexes of this species are separate. The gametes are released into the water from five small gonopores located around the madreporite (Fox 1994). (The madreporite is part of the water vascular system and is located on the center of aboral side of the sand dollar. Egg and sperm fuse to form a zygote, which mitotically divides to form a free-swimming bilaterally symmetrical larva. These larva are planktonic, and actively feed within the water column until they metamorphasize into their juvenile form and fall to the sea floor (Lerman 1986). In an average temperature of twenty-seven degrees Celsius, the larva completed metamorphoses in sixteen to twenty-eight days (Hendler, et al 1995). The larva resembles an artist easel turned upside down. It has fragile arms formed by lobes of ciliated bands and is supported fragile rods of calcite (Encyclopedia Britannica). Clypeaster subdepressus is capable of producing gametes throughout the year. At least sixty percent of individuals examined at any given time were capable of spawning.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Clypeaster subdepressum

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

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Conservation

Conservation Status

US Federal List: no special status

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

C. sudepressus is part of a very delicate ecosystem in the Caribbean Sea. Therefore, if it were disturbed then the ecosystem would be effected as well. Many fish that are consumed by humans are in the same ecosystem and would suffer at the loss of this species (Fox 1994).

Sand dollars when dried and bleached can be sold at shell shops, and this species plays such a role in the economy of Caribbean Islands and the coastal cities of South America.

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