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The functional significance of the relative size of aristotles lantern in the sea urchin echinometra mathaei


, : The functional significance of the relative size of aristotles lantern in the sea urchin echinometra mathaei. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology & Ecology 77(1-2): 81-98

E. mathaei (de Blainville) from different locations at Rottnest Island, Western Australia, had Aristotle's lanterns of different sizes relative to the size of their tests. Urchins with relatively larger lanterns also had heavier tests and muscles of the lantern relative to the size of the test, and smaller relative weights of spines and gonads. These patterns of variation indicate the possibility of a trade-off in allocation of resources between the relative size of the lantern and the amount of gonads and spines. To provide direct experimental evidence of the feeding performance by urchins with relatively small and relatively large lanterns (jaws), urchins were transplanted into the same microhabitat. Because urchins with relatively larger lanterns had more material in their guts, and removed benthic algae from larger areas than urchins with relatively smaller lanterns, these experiments clearly demonstrated the functional significance of the relative size of Aristotle's lantern in E. mathaei.

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