Deep Sea News

Invertebrate Battle Royal Roundup


The battle royal is on with several bloggers choosing colors. The whole thing got started when Sheril at the Intersucktion state “No contest! Cukes would eat squid for breakfast” implying that somehow echinoderms were better than Mollusks. The whole thing got started when this guy, who seems to be a fan of plants, was “joking” about which was cooler. I personally don’t find any of this a joke. Mollusks are cool and I’ve banked my career on it. Bora also wants to start something, but thankfully I realize he is just confused.

I tried to clear the matter up for Sheril and others indicating that Mollusks were way cooler than “an organism whose idea of fun is spewing its organs all over you or creating poop trails.” Sheril suggested that I framed the issue wrong by choosing an inappropriate sea cucumber video and instead proposed this. Meanwhile Dr. Joan jumped on the cucumber bandwagon. Cucumber bandwagon….mmm pickles!

I followed up with a suggestion that to believe than any other phyla than Mollusks were superior was absurd. I hinted at the extreme range of body sizes exhibited by Mollusks, 11 orders of magnitude, was far greater than echinoderms with only 8.

Kevin noted that the U.S. Coast Guard was also on record as supporting mollusks as the best marine invertebrate. The full weight of the journal Nature is too.

Kevin seems to be wavering however suggesting that primitive barnacles could be a contender. I have a feeling he was lead astray by Ed Yong’s post on mantis shrimp. Although Ed has appeared to get his act together and joined Team Mollusk with a wonderful post on squid beaks. Kevin appears to still be a traitor using his “other blog” to disseminate evil.

I pointed to both the radula and the existence of gastropods parasitic on echinoderms was a major blow to echinoderm coolness. Jim’s retort was the rather lame Aristotle’s Lantern which he proposed was better than radula. I quickly smacked that argument down. Others Jim?

Snail at the second best blog (but with a better name) on the net , A Snail’s Eye View, pointed us all to the fact that Google Fight gave the definitive answer on which group was best. I can always count on Jason at Cephalopodcast as well. UPDATE: Snail delivers another blow.

Of course I am just waiting for Myriam to pipe up about the freakin’ tunicates. I got a post already for that one.


  1. #1 Coturnix
    March 29, 2008

    Still waiting for the nudibranch vote. And I’ve been considering lancelets lately 😉

  2. #2 kevin z
    March 29, 2008

    I’m surprised no one has stood up to defend the polychaete with those vicious eversible jaws!

  3. #3 Xeip
    March 29, 2008

    An onslaught against echinoderms like this requires me to marshal a collection of photogenic specimens against you.

    Just one other area in which echinoderms trounce molluscs is negligible senescence; some urchins, they just keep going- up to 200 years! Switching the emphasis from species numbers to overall biomass, echinoderms are one of the most abundant groups in the ocean depths.

  4. #4 Xeip
    March 30, 2008

    Just one other area in which echinoderms trounce molluscs is negligible senescence; some urchins, they just keep going- up to 200 years!

    I spoke too soon and forgot Ming the ocean quahog, who is estimated at about 405 years old. So I’ll have to hand it to molluscs when it comes to senescence.

  5. #5 kevin z
    March 30, 2008

    Based on models derived from in situ growth rates, the tubeworm Lamellibrachia luymesi can live for over 250 years, possibly up to 400-500 years if their sulphide supply is maintained.

  6. #6 Snail
    March 30, 2008

    Hmmm … and even extinct molluscs win in the charisma stakes. Ammonites, anyone?

  7. #7 JasonR
    March 30, 2008

    What’s up with the oystergarter and their affinity for tunicates? Don’t they realize that molluscs are in their URL. Ipso facto, if you ask me.

  8. #8 Xeip
    March 30, 2008

    the tubeworm Lamellibrachia luymesi can live for over 250 years, possibly up to 400-500 years

    If you want to be really impressed, check out the Hexactinellid sponge, Scolymastra joubini.

    One two meter high specimen in the Ross Sea was estimated to be 23,000 years old, though because of sea level fluctuations in the Ross Sea it is unlikely that such an animal could have lived for more than 15,000 years. Even if 15,000 years is an overestimate, which may well be the case, this specimen appears to be the longest-lived animal on earth.

  9. #9 Melusine
    March 30, 2008

    Arthropods beat out both for population and species diversity, and even the subphylum crustaceans beat out mollusks on Google Fight. Crabs rock!

    OK, but clearly mollusks are superior to echinoderms. They’re tastier too. No contest.

  10. #10 Miriam
    March 30, 2008

    Jason – the molluscs may be in our URL, but the tunicates are in our hearts. That is why my heart has such a lovely incurrent and excurrent siphon.

    Craig – I’ve been all busy doing SCIENCE but your molluscs will experience an epic fail later tonight. Down with protostomes! Up with deuterostomes!

  11. #11 kevin z
    March 30, 2008

    Xeip, colonial organisms don’t count!! There are reefs of the cold water coral Lophelia pertusa off of Norway estimated to be around 10000+ years old too.

  12. #12 Peter Mc
    March 31, 2008

    Snail, you’re in my gang in the playground. There is little more satisfying (with your clothes on, anyway) than cracking open a nodule and finding a nice fattie of an ammonite.

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