Is the sea lily a flower?

Often people ask that is the sea lily a flower? Some time they were very confused. So, let’s know abut sea lily and clear the confusion.

Is the sea lily a flower

The sea lily certainly looks flower-like but it is in fact an animal. It is another echinoderm and so it belongs to the same group as the starfishes, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers, and has a basically similar body plan.

The distinctive feature of the sea lily is its long stalk with which it fastens itself to the sea bottom, and the crown of feathery arms which arise from the top.

In the depths of the oceans sea lilies spread these arms wide and catch food particles drifting down through the water from the upper levels. These are passed to the mouth and eaten.

We do not know very much about sea lilies because most live only on the floors of very deep oceans and are therefore impossible to watch directly.

Is the sea lily a flower
Is the sea lily a flower: There are many species of sea lily. In some the stalk may be up to 2 feet in length. Fossil sea lilies have been found, however, with stalks as long as 70 feet.

They are very fragile animals and tend to break when dredged up from the sea bed, and will not survey in tanks. We do know that they belong to a very ancient group because many fossil lilies have been found which 420 million years old.

Can you eat a sea urchin?

Many people do eat parts of these unappetizing spiny animals. They are popular in Mediterranean countries and the West Indies. It is the ripe ovaries that are roasted, fried or sometimes even eaten raw.

Sea urchins are echinoderms with a box-like skeleton made up of tiny plates fused together. This ‘test’ as it is called, can be in many shapes: spherical, oval or flattened, and most have long moveable spines as extensions of the plates.

Sea urchins have tube feet worked by the same system as the starfishes but they are generally longer, and project beyond the spines.

Is the sea lily a flower
Three sea urchins. The one on top has been killed, the spines scraped off and the jaws and internal organs removed. The cleaned tests are often seen for sale in seaside towns.

The tube feet are arranged in five rows radiating from top to bottom of the test. Another feature in common with starfishes is the urchin. These are gently waving all the time and pick off particles which settle on the urchin.

This cleaning operation is important in slow-moving creatures that live on the sea floor because things are always dropping down on to them.

Particles that are edible are passed round to the mouth in the middle of the underside. Urchins have particularly strong jaws o enable them to chew tough seaweeds.

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