A phylum of the most familiar marine invertebrates. Its class Stelleroidea contains two subclasses, the Asteroidea (the STARFISH or sea stars) and the Ophiuroidea (the brittle stars, also called basket stars and serpent stars). There are 1500 described species of STARFISH found throughout the world. The second class, Echinoidea, contains about 950 species of SEA URCHINS, heart urchins, and sand dollars. A third class, Holothuroidea, comprises about 900 echinoderms known as SEA CUCUMBERS. Echinoderms are used extensively in biological research. (From Barnes, Invertebrate Zoology, 5th ed, pp773-826)