Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)
Echinoderms are mainly gonochoristic (having separate sexes), with exceptions among the asteroids, holothurians and ophuroids. Holothurians possess a single gonad, crinoids lack distinct gonads, while asteroids and echinoids have multiple gonads. Echinoderm reproductive strategies vary from free spawning and indirect development to brooding and direct development. Spawning is probably a noctural event.
Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); simultaneous hermaphrodite; sequential hermaphrodite; sexual ; fertilization (External ); oviparous
Parental investment ranges from no care after the release of eggs for free spawning to brooding the young. Brooding is found in polar and boreal echinoderms and some deep sea echinoderms, where environments are more difficult for the larvae.
Parental Investment: pre-fertilization (Provisioning); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)
- Barnes, R. 1987. Invertebrate Zoology. Orlando, Florida: Dryden Press.
- Brusca, R., G. Brusca. 2003. Invertebrates. Sunderland, Massachusetts: Sinauer Associates, Inc..