Sea Urchin Babies Look Like Tiny Spaceships

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Source: JOHNNIE FLEMING – OCT 9, 2016

If the ocean was a high school, you could probably find a sea urchin in the back of the book under the caption “Most Likely To Be An Alien Life Form.”

It’s basically just a giant ball, covered in spikes. And tube feet. And also pincer hands.

But strange as the adults are, the best proof that they might be aliens is actually the sea urchin teenager, the pluteus.

It looks exactly like a spaceship!

And that’s basically what it is. The pluteus carries a growing adult sea urchin inside as it gets carried around by the ocean currents, looking for the perfect place to drop its payload.

Once the pluteus senses the turbulence of the waves crashing on the shore and the presence of delicious kelp nearby in the water, it knows it has reached its destination.

All that’s left is to unload the adult sea urchin — which it does in the expected way by TURNING ITSELF INSIDE OUT.

The difficult journey is certainly worth the wait — sea urchins can live for centuries, with only a few predators able to get around their spiny defense systems. Which is no surprise, really. Would you want to tangle with an alien looking like this?

If you’re interested in learning more about the life cycle of a sea urchin, check out the video from PBS below:

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October 27, 2016 |

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