Watch a half-dead sea urchin get menaced by a hungry crab—and live to tell the tale | Science
Echinoderms are survivors. Many of the marine invertebrates—akin to starfish and brittle stars—can regrow misplaced limbs, and a few will even shed an arm or two to escape a predator. Their spiky sea urchin cousins are identified to substitute misplaced spines. Now, seafloor pictures taken off the coast of Norway have revealed a new high-water mark for the tenacious sea urchin: Despite having a gaping gap the place its anus and sexual organs used to be, one severely injured Strongylocentrotus stored transferring for at the very least 43 hours and 20 minutes, at one level even dodging an assault from a hungry crab (above).
The purpose the powerful little critter survived its fatal-looking wound, scientists say, is as a result of sea urchins don’t have any actual mind. Instead, they’ve a decentralized nervous system, one which largely survived in our protagonist’s damage. The workforce isn’t certain what induced the harm—which tore off half of the urchin’s higher shell, exposing its jaw and intestines—however they believe it was a predatory fish or a crustacean, they write in Polar Biology. Alternatively, they grimly concede, “It might have been us scientists who caused the injury by accident when deploying and documenting the lander platform.”
Also unclear is whether or not the sea urchin survived after the lander stopped recording. Because the stays of many current and fossil urchins appear to have healed sizable fractures, the researchers say their topic doubtless lived lengthy sufficient to start to regenerate. After all, what doesn’t kill you makes you Strongylocentrotus. Ahem, stronger.