Structural characteristics of marsupial brood pouches of the antarctic sea urchins Abatus nimrodi and Abatus shackletoni (Echinoidea: Spatangoida)

Academic Article


  • Marsupial spines, tubercles, and pedicellariae of the antarctic brooding spatangoids Abatus nimrodi and Abatus shackletoni have been examined by scanning electron microscopy. Individual brood pouches of A. nimrodi may hold up to 28 embryos and juveniles and those of A. shackletoni may hold up to 38 lecithotrophic embryos and juveniles. Juveniles can be divided into (a) those with early development of external elements and a mean size of 2.0 and 1.6 mm, respectively, and (b) those equipped with fully developed external elements and a mean length of 4.3 and 2.8 mm, respectively. Mean diameters of aboral brood pouch openings of A. nimrodi and A. shackletoni were 6.5 and 4.1 mm, respectively. Brood pouches contain tall, distally enlarged spines, and smaller, layered cover‐spines, which form a protective arch over the marsupia. There are also slender brood‐pouch‐bottom spines, which have an extremely thickened spinal epidermis. A. nimrodi has mainly bidentate, but also triand quadrodentate pedicellariae. A. shackletoni has two forms of tridentate, rostrate, and globiferous pedicellariae. In A. shackletoni, marsupial spine density is significantly lower than in A. nimrodi. These differences may be related to distinct sediment characteristics in their respective habitats. © 1993 Wiley‐Liss, Inc. Copyright © 1993 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Schinner GO; McClintock JB
  • Start Page

  • 79
  • End Page

  • 93
  • Volume

  • 216
  • Issue

  • 1