This sea urchin is plastic. No, really! 
Plasticity describes the ability of a species to grow into different shape, size or other attributes depending on the conditions they live in. 
Echinometra lucunter was studied in different sites in Barbados, and individuals in Little Bay were quite different from those at Graves End: their bodies were flatter to the ground and more oval (possibly because higher wave action in Little Bay made it important to by hydrodynamically shaped), and their coloring was different (perhaps because they had a different array of algae to feed on). 
This species is also pretty widely distributed, mostly in the Caribbean and Atlantic. The plasticity and the wide distribution may be why these critters have cost taxonomists so much work. At least fifteen different species have been discovered and named, only to turn out to be E. lucunter.  Check out the list: http://eol.org/data_objects/11594077 and the Barbados study: http://www.int-res.com/articles/meps/15/m015p207.pdf (photo: Simon Coppard via The Echinoderms of Panama)
(via: EOL)

This sea urchin is plastic. No, really!

Plasticity describes the ability of a species to grow into different shape, size or other attributes depending on the conditions they live in.

Echinometra lucunter was studied in different sites in Barbados, and individuals in Little Bay were quite different from those at Graves End: their bodies were flatter to the ground and more oval (possibly because higher wave action in Little Bay made it important to by hydrodynamically shaped), and their coloring was different (perhaps because they had a different array of algae to feed on).

This species is also pretty widely distributed, mostly in the Caribbean and Atlantic. The plasticity and the wide distribution may be why these critters have cost taxonomists so much work. At least fifteen different species have been discovered and named, only to turn out to be E. lucunter.

Check out the list: http://eol.org/
data_objects/11594077

and the Barbados study: http://www.int-res.com/
articles/meps/15/m015p207.pdf

(photo: Simon Coppard via The Echinoderms of Panama)

(via: EOL)

  1. marthito reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  2. understormywaters reblogged this from artofscience01
  3. kueekuatsu reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  4. sleepyheathen reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  5. moontiger5 reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  6. kyskikt reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  7. first-snow-first-kiss reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  8. klo-n-o-p-i-n reblogged this from fresh-n-salty
  9. artofscience01 reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  10. fresh-n-salty reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  11. thetidepool reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  12. ponywithpaws reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  13. im-walking-by reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  14. sirmaxie reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  15. wisequietness reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  16. drkhippiekiller reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  17. selfish-suite reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  18. hollylula21 reblogged this from mountains-to-oceans
  19. coldbloodedandcaffeinated reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  20. the-river-nyle reblogged this from rhamphotheca