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Temporal range: CambrianRecent
Ochre sea star on beach, Olympic National Park USA.jpg
Pisaster ochraceaus
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Echinodermata
Subphylum: Eleutherozoa
Bather, 1900
Classes [1]

Eleutherozoa is a proposed subphylum of echinoderms. They are mobile animals with the mouth directed towards the substrate. They usually have a madreporite, tube feet, and moveable spines of some sort, and some have Tiedemann's bodies on the ring canal. All living echinoderms except Crinozoa and Blastozoa belong here.



There are 2 main competing hypotheses about the internal subdivision, both about equally well supported by both molecular and morphological data. They differ in their placement of the Ophiuroidea (brittle stars), and are named accordingly.

The "Cryptosyringida" hypothesis posits that the "sea-star" morphology is plesiomorphic for Eleutherozoa as a whole, and that starfish (Asteroidea) and brittle stars are not very closely related, the latter forming the clade Cryptosyringida together with the Echinozoa. The "Asterozoa" hypothesis, on the other hand, implies that the "sea-star" arms of starfish and brittle stars, as well as the rounded shape of Echinozoa, all evolved independently from an ancestor of unknown morphology, but that each "armed" and "rounded" lineage is strictly monophyletic. Too little is known of the basal eleutherozoans and echinoderms to be able to firmly decide for or against any of these hypotheses at present. [2]

The Asterozoa would have to be ranked as a superclass or treated as an unranked clade between the Cryptosyringida and the Eleutherozoa, depending on whether the "Asterozoa" or "Cryptosyringida" hypothesis eventually turns out to be correct.

Some old research favours the following classification: [3] [4]









But more newer research with more advanced technology, favours this cladogram: [5] [6]


Crinoidea (feather stars) Crinoid on the reef of Batu Moncho Island.JPG



sea cucumbers

S. variolaris.jpg

sea urchins, etc

Ophiura ophiura.jpg

brittle stars

Portugal 20140812-DSC01434 (21371237591).jpg



  1. Milsom (2010)
  2. Wray (1999)
  3. Smith, A. (2007). "Echinoderms: Attachment, torsion and the origins of a radical new body plan" (PDF). In Budd, G. E.; Streng, M.; Daley, A. C.; Willman, S. (eds.). Programme with Abstracts. Palaeontological Association Annual Meeting. 51. Uppsala, Sweden.
  4. Smith, A.B. (2005). "The pre-radial history of echinoderms". Geological Journal. 40 (3): 255–280. doi:10.1002/gj.1018.
  5. Telford, M. J.; Lowe, C. J.; Cameron, C. B.; Ortega-Martinez, O.; Aronowicz, J.; Oliveri, P.; Copley, R. R. (2014). "Phylogenomic analysis of echinoderm class relationships supports Asterozoa". Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 281 (1786): 20140479. doi:10.1098/rspb.2014.0479. PMC   4046411 . PMID   24850925.
  6. Escriva, Hector; Reich, Adrian; Dunn, Casey; Akasaka, Koji; Wessel, Gary (2015). "Phylogenomic Analyses of Echinodermata Support the Sister Groups of Asterozoa and Echinozoa". PLOS ONE. 10 (3): e0119627. Bibcode:2015PLoSO..1019627R. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119627 . ISSN   1932-6203. PMC   4368666 . PMID   25794146.

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