The Echinodermata is a phylum of exclusively marine invertebrates with a fossil record extending back to the Precambrian. The echinoderm clade is supported by a number of unique features, including:

  • a water vascular system
  • a system of endoskeletal elements (arising from mesoderm) composed of a calcareous meshwork called stereom
  • basic 5-part symmetry (often modified later in ontogeny) expressed in the development of 5 primary lobes in the hydrocoel of the rudiment
  • construction of ambulacra by the addition of new plates adjacent to the terminal (or ocular) plate that marks the ends of the radial canals
  • a diffuse sub-epithelial nervous system


Echinodermata Collection

Special holdings within the collection include:

  1. Voucher and type collection of echinoderms from Stanford University (worked upon and collected by Ed Ricketts, Walter K. Fisher and H.L. Clark) collected by the USFC Steamer Albatross in the late 19th century and early 20th century
  2. Shallow water Indo-Pacific echinoderms collected by Antonio J. Ferreira
  3. East-Asian dredge material collected by Franz B. Steiner
  4. Recently acquired oceanographic dredge collections of brisingid asteroids from Oregon State University.
  5. The Malcolm Telford Collection from the University of Toronto, including one of the world's best collections of clypeasteroids.
  6. Material collected by CAS staff since 1906.

There is a substantial amount of unallocated ophiuroid, crinoid and holothuroid material from mostly tropical Pacific localities. If you are a specialist who would like to work on our material or if you would like to make a donation of specimens to our collections please contact the curator, Dr. Rich Mooi.


This web page would not have been possible without the help and support of the following individuals: Dr. Rich Mooi lent generously of his time in reviewing the content of the page. Dr. Tom Niesen, San Francisco State University provided many of the photographs in the Classification section. Gabby Mascardo and Zinaida Beynon were patient and generous in their time helping to put this page up. A short thanks to Cory Pittman for his significant editorial comments on the echinoid classification section. And finally, thanks to Marilyn Eversole for keeping this website up-to-date and for her design talents and creativity. Thanks to all!

Echinodermata Staff

Dr. Rich Mooi researches the phylogenetic systematics of the Echinodermata, but particularly in echinoids.

Echinodermata Links