Chemical defense in the eggs and embryos of antarctic sea stars (Echinodermata)

Academic Article


  • Fifteen species of reproductively mature echinoderms (11 sea stars, 3 sea urchins, 1 sea cucumber) were collected from McMurdo Sound, Antarctica, during austral spring and summer of 1985 and 1986; eggs and embryos were obtained, and were tested for ichthyonoxicity using the common marine killifish Fundulus grandis as a model predator. Chemical deterrents occurred in the large, yolky eggs of the pelagic lecithotrophic sea star Perknaster fuscus and the planktotrophic sea star Porania antarctica. Brooded embryos of the sea stars Diplasterias brucei and Notasterias armata were also noxious. Significant ichthyonoxicity was not detected in the remaining 7 species of sea stars, 3 sea urchins, and 1 sea cucumber. Chemical deterrents were generally effective at concentrations below a single egg or embryo per agar test-pellet. Although chemicals found in these eggs and embryos are noxious to an allopatric fish, they may not be noxious to sympatric fish. © 1990 Springer-Verlag.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • McClintock JB; Vernon JD
  • Start Page

  • 491
  • End Page

  • 495
  • Volume

  • 105
  • Issue

  • 3