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Dressing up for the deep: agglutinated protists adorn an irregular urchin

  • Lisa A. Levin (a1), Andrew J. Gooday (a2) and David W. James (a1)


A specimen of the deep-water, spatangoid urchin, Cystochinus loveni, wearing a costume of agglutinated protists, was collected from 3088 m in the Gulf of Alaska, north-east Pacific. Over 24 putative taxa of living and dead foraminiferans and xenophyophores, as well as a sipunculan, polychaete, tanaid, and two isopods, were collected from the dorsal surface of this single individual. This is the first report of a deep-sea urchin using rhizopod protists and it is proposed that the urchin acquires camouflage or benefits from increased specific gravity associated with the protistan cloak.


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