Copyright

Echinodermata Nervous System

Echinodermata Nervous System
Coming up next: Examples of Symmetry in Phylum Platyhelminthes

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:04 What's an Echinoderm?
  • 0:55 A Nervous System…
  • 1:35 Sensory Abilities
  • 2:34 Lesson Summary
Add to Add to Add to

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Heather Pier

Heather has taught high school and college science courses, and has a master's degree in geography-climatology.

Learn about the nervous system of the members of the phylum Echinodermata. Members of this invertebrate marine phylum include starfish, sea urchins and sand dollars. Though they lack brains, echinoderms do have a nervous system and sensory organs.

What's an Echinoderm?

You probably have a good head on your shoulders. The starfish at the zoo? Not so much. Unlike most animals, which have an obvious head, and thus an equally obvious location for a brain, members of the phylum Echinodermata are lacking on both accounts. If you've ever tried to determine where a starfish's head is, then you understand the problem. Their characteristic pentaradial symmetry (five equal body parts) means that there isn't an obvious head end to their bodies.

Echinodermata contains five different classes of marine invertebrates: star fish, brittle stars, echinoids (sea urchins and sand dollars), sea lilies, and sea cucumbers. And, like the starfish, none have obvious heads. And as we will soon see, none have brains either.

A Nervous System Without a Brain?

It is probably hard to picture how it is possible to have a nervous system without a brain. The animals we are most familiar with like dogs, cats and other humans are all mammals. They have a nervous system similar to our own, with a brain, spinal cord, and nerves. But by definition, a nervous system is simply a network of nerve cells and associated nerve fibers that transmit impulses between different parts of the organism's body. A brain is not actually required in order to have a nervous system.

If an organism has an organized set of nerve cells and fibers that are sophisticated enough to meet its needs for daily function, then it has a nervous system. And that is the case with echinoderms.

Sensory Abilities

Instead of a brain, echinoderms have a ring of nerves located around their mouth area that governs their nervous responses. This ring coordinates their motion, their eating, basically anything that requires nerve control. A network of radial nerves surround the central ring, and functions in coordination with their water vascular system to help with motion and righting, their ability to get themselves upright again after tipping over.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account
Support