Abstract

The studies on echinoderms of the Mexican Pacific have focused on taxonomy and biogeography, and there are limited data on their ecology. We used transect to study Diadema mexicanum, Echinometra mathaei oblonga, Eucidaris thouarsii and Tripneustes depressus at three bays in Socorro Island, Revillagigedo Archipelago, Mexico (1989 and 1990). The most abundant species in the island was E. mathaei oblonga (3.96 + 0.83 ind m-2; average and standard error), followed by D. mexicanum (2.13 + 0.59 ind m-2), T. depressus and E. thouarsii (between 0.50 and 0.11 ind m-2, respectively). Binners Bay had the highest density with 15.98 + 0.43 ind m-2, mostly due to the high incidence of E. mathaei oblonga at the site. Seasonally, T. depressus and E. thouarsii did not significantly varied its abundance during the year, while D. mexicanum was more abundant in winter-spring, and E. mathaei oblonga in the fall. Two species (D. mexicanum and E. mathaei oblonga) had an aggregated distribution along the year and in the three study locations, but the other two echinoids followed a random distribution. This may be a defense against the abundant predatory fishes. In contrast, the species that do not aggregate inhabit in refuges during the day (E. thouarsii), or their shape and size makes them difficult to capture by fishes (T. depressus).

 
Keywords: Diadema mexicanum, Tripneustes depressus, Echinometra mathaei oblonga, Eucidaris thouarsii, Variance/mean statistical test, Oceanic islands.