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Biol Bull 2016 Feb 01;2301:25-34. doi: 10.1086/BBLv230n1p25.
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Development of the Sea Star Echinaster (Othilia) brasiliensis, with Inference on the Evolution of Development and Skeletal Plates in Asteroidea.

Lopes EM , Ventura CR .

We describe the development and juvenile morphology of the sea star Echinaster (Othilia) brasiliensis in order to explore evolutionary developmental modes and skeletal homologies. This species produces large, buoyant eggs (0.6 ± 0.03 mm diameter), and has a typical lecithotrophic brachiolaria larva. The planktonic brachiolaria larva is formed 2-4 days after fertilization, when cilia cover the surface. Early juveniles are completely formed by 18 days of age. Initial growth is supported by maternal nutrients while the stomach continues to develop until 60 days after fertilization, when juveniles reach about 0.5 mm of radius length. The madreporite was observed 88 days after fertilization. In the youngest juvenile skeleton of E. (O.) brasiliensis, the madreporite and odontophore are homologous to those of other recent, non-paxillosid asteroids, and follow the Late Madreporic Mode. The emergence of plates related to the ambulacral system follows the Ocular Plate Rule. The development and juvenile skeletal morphology of this species are similar to those of the few other studied species in the genus Echinaster. This study corroborates the notion that the mode of development--including a short-lived lecithotrophic brachiolaria larva--in all Echinaster species shares a similar pattern that may be conserved throughout the evolutionary history of the group.

PubMed ID: 26896175
Article link: Biol Bull

Genes referenced: LOC100887844 LOC115925415