Saturday, November 23, 2013

Snowflakes and Sea Cucumber Ossicles: similar physics?

This is a snowflake.  It reminds me of a remarkable type of sea cucumber spicule, or ossicle, a "table," diagnostic of Holothuria atra, a common black sea cucumber in Micronesia.  I'm searching for a good photo of these spicules, to compare with this snowflake.  Meanwhile, John Starmer sent a pointer to a blog with a photo of tables, attributed to François Michonneau/FLMNH, licensed under the Creative Commons license. Another SEM shot from the same blog is of Stichopus sp.

The snowflake is featured is found at the site of a collection of snowflake photos.

This type of snowflake is a "Capped Column"

Draw your own conclusions.

Stichopus ossicles

Ossicles of Holothuria nigralutea, on the left, and Holothuria edulis.