Yesterday I helped the Assistant Curator of Zoology, Kate Sherburn with relocating various specimens. In the morning we collected a variety of jars (we needed 80 of various shapes and sizes, and 20 of the kind below.)
We also relocated the dry Echinoderm collection. The specimens had been housed in these wooden drawers for quite a while, and we moved them to steel cabinets.
But first of all, what is a “sea star”? The terms “sea star” and “star fish” actually refer to a few different families of animals within the phylum Echinodermata. The word “Echinoderm” comes from the Greek “echinoderma”, which means “spiny skin.” Echinoderms include sea stars, sea urchins, sand dollars, sea cucumbers and crinoids or “sea lilies.” The Echinoderms usually display a 5 point radial symmetry. This symmetry was not lost on biologist and artist, Ernst Haeckel (February 16, 1834 – August 9, 1919) who illustrated the image below:
We worked with two echinoderm classes: the Asteroidea, which are the “true” starfish, and the Ophiuroidea (brittle-stars). The Asteroidea, as you can probably tell from their namesake, mean “star-like in appearance.” Here are more photos of the specimens I took as we relocated them.