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Data from: Age determination in echinoderms: first evidence of annual growth rings in holothuroids

Citation

Sun, Jiamin; Hamel, Jean-François; Gianasi, Bruno; Mercier, Annie (2019), Data from: Age determination in echinoderms: first evidence of annual growth rings in holothuroids, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3339pf4

Abstract

While age is fundamental in animal biology, forming the basis of critical concepts such as life-history strategies, longevity and population structures, measuring this variable in some taxa remains problematic. Such is the case of holothuroid echinoderms, which play key roles in marine benthic communities from the shore to the abyss, and are extensively fished in many regions across the globe. Here we present and validate a promising aging technique using the cold-water species Psolus fabricii. The method involves the extraction of the oldest dermal plates (largest dorsal ossicles) to preserve their original pigments and structure. While plates initially appear to have a uniform texture, polishing and dying them reveals layered ring patterns. A study of laboratory-reared juveniles, from settlement to 40 months of age, confirmed that one layer is added annually, making plates both larger and thicker, and generating successive light and dark rings, the latter representing the transition (overlap) between two layers. Therefore, each pair of rings represents an annual growth band. Size-at-age data obtained using this method revealed that growth of P. fabricii is slow and that wild individuals collected at diving depths had reached an age of several decades.

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