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BURROWING SEA URCHIN (Echinometra mathaei)
Biodiversity > Marine Life > Echinoderm > Sea urchins

Echinometra mathaei

Burrowing urchin         Echinometra mathaei

One urchin you encounter at Lord Howe Island actually excavates the soft calcarenite rock along the intertidal platform area to form a burrow in which to live. This is the Burrowing urchin Echinometra mathaei - a smaller, oval shaped urchin, usually with pink spines, or occasionally yellow, or olive spines with white tips. The burrow is typically about 15 cm long and 7 cm deep, but can be deeper on the outer edge of the rock platform. The excavation takes place while the urchin is scraping algae off the rock; the end product being a safe niche providing protection from predatory fish. The teeth are extremely strong - according to some textbooks they are composed of a crystalline matrix that is as hard as steel!



size: 7cm

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