Without Sexual Relation Sea Urchins Pull Themselves Inside Out to Be Reborn For Immortal life

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A baby sea urchin

All alone, in a vast emptiness.. A pluteus. Blind and deaf, its sole purpose is to find the right place to land.

Without Sexual Relation Sea Urchins Pull Themselves Inside Out to Be Reborn For Immortal life
Adult sea urchin in ocean

Here’s what it will become, an adult sea urchin. Basically a rugged ball of spines, built to survive in some of the harshest environments in the ocean. Like their cousins the sea stars and sand dollars,

cousins the sea stars and sand dollars

sea urchins have little tube feet. They use them to move around… and pull kelp into their mouths.

Without sexual relation it will born.

And between their spines are pincers called pedicellariae that they use to groom themselves. Each spring males release clouds of sperm and females release huge numbers of eggs.

  • A tiny percentage of them find each other in the open ocean.
  • The fertilized egg grows and eventually hatches.
  • An embryo swims for its life.
  • As it grows, it takes on the shape of a little lunar lander.
a microscopic adult urchin is growing inside
A microscopic adult urchin is growing inside

It can swim for weeks or months like this, covering huge distances, feeding on algae along the way. Meanwhile, a microscopic adult urchin is growing inside its own teenage self. The pluteus needs to land somewhere before the adult inside it grows too big. The ocean currents drag it towards shore and into the pounding surf.

It can grow for centuries now practically immortal

That turbulence plus the smell of tasty kelp lets the pluteus know, it’s time. It stops swimming. It falls to the seafloor. Then something really weird happens.

practically immortal

From inside, tube feet reach out It pulls itself inside out, like a sock. Here’s a sand dollar doing the same thing. A miniature adult emerges And then, after so much change and tumult, time kind of … stands still. Unless an urchin is eaten or gets sick, it can grow for centuries. Having survived the long odds of youth… it’s now practically immortal.

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