Q:

What do echinoderms eat?

A:

Quick Answer

Different species of echinoderms eat a variety of different foods, from ocean plants to smaller sea creatures such as snails, worms, and crustaceans. Some species also scavenge dead plant and animal matter on the ocean floor.

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Full Answer

The echinoderm family is made up of a wide variety of different species and subspecies. There are around 7,000 different kinds of echinodermata, including sea stars, sea urchins and sea cucumbers. Because there are so many species in the family, they can have very different feeding habits. Some species are strictly carnivorous while others are herbivores or scavengers.

Different kinds of echinodermata catch their food in different ways. Some use their arms to catch animals while others hunt their prey.

Most species are carnivorous and feed off of mussels, sea sponges, oysters, worms and other smaller creatures. This is true for most species of sea star. Sea cucumbers tend to be omnivores. They feed off of algae, plankton or dead matter. They are similar to earthworms in that they break down material on the ocean floor into smaller particles, which helps provide food for ocean plants.

Some species of echinoderm are also food sources for other animals in the sea. For example, fish can prey on sea cucumber adults, larvae or eggs. However, other species are difficult to eat and therefore have few predators. This is true of most sea star species.

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