C, Ventral groove, where lies the water - vessel, from which branches pass through the ossicle,emerg huge podia with a granular or plated skin.
- Ambulacrals sometimes compound, with one or two pores to a plate, some dorsal podia begin to assume respiratory function; interambulacrals multi-tuberculate, none resorbed; mouth central, with jaws weak or wanting, with external gills and sphaeridia; anus exocyclic. Families: Pygasteridae, Discoidiidae, Galeritidae, Conoclypeidae; Jurassic to Recent.
- Ambulacrals simple, with two pores juxtaposed, dorsal podia respiratory; interambulacrals bearing numerous small spines, none resorbed; mouth central or shifted forwards, with no jaws or external gills, sphaeridia numerous; anus exocyclic. As the mouth moves forward and the anus downward, the posterior interambulacrals between them are enlarged and strengthened so as to form a sternum.
- Ambulacrals simple or compound, with two pores juxtaposed, dorsal podia respiratory; interambulacrals multi-tuberculate, none resorbed; mouth central with flattened unequal jaws, reduced external gills, and few sphaeridia; anus exocyclic. Families: Fibulariidae, Laganidae, Scutellidae, Clypeastridae; Cretaceous to Recent.
The absence of an apical system of plates; the fact that radial symmetry has not affected the generative organs, as it has in all other recent classes; the welldeveloped muscles of the body-wall, supposed to be directly inherited from some worm-like ancestor; the presence on the inner walls of the body in the family Synaptidae of ciliated funnels, which have been rashly compared to the excretory organs (nephridia) of many worms; the outgrowth from the rectum in other genera of caeca (Cuvierian organs and respiratory trees), which recall the anal glands of the Gephyrean worms; the absence of podia (tube-feet) in many genera, and even of the radial water-vessels in Synaptidae; the absence of that peculiar structure known in other echinoderms by the names "axial organ," "ovoid gland," &c; the simpler form of the larva - all these features have, for good reason or bad, been regarded as primitive.