Echinoderms include starfish, brittle stars, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, sand dollars and crinoids. They are one of the most diverse groups of marine invertebrates and play important ecological roles from the shore environment to the deeper seas.

Slate Pencil Urchin Heterocentrotus mamillatus
This species is a large sea urchin, with some specimens reaching over 8 cm in diameter, with spikes up to 10 cm. Most specimens are bright red, but brown and purple colourations are also seen. The spines may have a different colour from the body. Spines generally have a white ring at their stem and have alternating light and dark rings. Surprisingly, at night, the red spines turn into a chalky pink. This species can be found throughout the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region (from the east coast of Africa to the Pacific archipelagos). It is found in reefs in depths from 8 to 25 metres. Sea urchins are primarily marine grazers and tend to eat the algae in closest proximity to them. H. mammillatus predominantly feeds on encrusting coralline algae. The main predator is fish although its thick, rounded magnesium calcite spines allows it to bore into hard substrates and defend itself against predators, wave drag, and pressure.

Keeled Heart Urchin Brissus latecarinatus
This sea urchin is found around tropical to mid-latitude countries, mainly in the Indo-Pacific, Atlantic, and Mediterranean, in shallow water sands to shell gravels at depths of 1 to 45 m. It belongs to the Family Brissidae and is identifiable because of the star visible on the armour casing which is covered with spines. They feed on plants and small invertebrates found between sand particles. Fertilisation is external and brooding is common.Echinoderms datestamp

Cuming's Sea Star Neoferdina cumingi, is native to the tropical Indo-Pacific region. This starfish has a wide variety of colour forms and is typically symmetrically patterned with distinctive spots and the tip of each arm curling upwards. Although the feeding habits of this starfish have not been studied, it is part of the order Valvatida, and starfish in this order typically evert their stomach to engulf and digest their food before retracting the stomach back into the disc. Like other starfish, this species is likely to be able to reproduce asexually after splitting apart. Some members of Valvatida are hermaphrodites and others have separate sexes. The larvae are planktonic and drift with the currents for about four weeks finding shallow water areas in which to settle, often at a considerable distance from their origins.

Brittle Star Macrophiothrix demessa
Closely related to starfish they are found in the Indo-Pacific, Malaysia and Pitcairn regions and live in reef communities, where they hide under rocks and even within other living organisms. They crawl across the sea floor using their flexible arms for locomotion. They have five long, slender, whip-like arms which may reach up to 60 cm (24 in) in length on the largest specimens. Also known as serpent stars. M. demessa is one of over 2,000 species of brittle stars live today with more than 1200 of these species found in deep waters, greater than 200 m deep. Their central disk contains all of the internal organs of digestion and reproduction and the underside contains the mouth, which has five toothed jaws formed from skeletal plates. Brittle stars are generally scavengers with small organic particles moved into the mouth by the tube feet. They may also prey on small crustaceans or worms. They generally sexually mature in two to three years, become full grown in three to four years, and live up to 5 years. M. demessa can readily regenerate
lost arms or arm segments and often use this ability to escape predators.

Echinoderms FDC

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Set of 4 stamps
First Day Cover with 4 stamps

Technical Details

Donna McKenna, Wellington. New Zealand

Pitcairn Stamps
proudly brought
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Bounty Post
Printer: Southern Colour Print, Dunedin, New Zealand

Process: Offset Litho
Stamp size: 50.00mm x 35.71mm horizontal
Format: Two vertical panes of 12 stamps with central gutter
Denominations: $0.20c; $1.00; $3.00 and $4.60
Paper: 106gsm Tullis Russell Yellow-Green phosphor gummed stamp paper

Period of Sale:
23 October 2019 for a period of 2 years