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RED TIPPED URCHIN (Heliocidaris tuberculata)
Biodiversity > Marine Life > Echinoderm > Sea urchins

Heliocidaris tuberculata

The large brown, sea urchin Heliocidaris tuberculata is the most common sea urchin on LHI. Its spines are brown, or tinged with orange red, and about five to eight cm long. It can be readily seen in the pools around rock platforms, and in deeper water on reefs of the lagoon. You can gently prise one off the rocks and hold it on the palm of your hand to feel it walking with its spines! Turn it over and amongst the spines you may see a pair of small, brown shrimps Athanas dorsalis about a cm in length. They live permanently in this spiny home, safe from predators. Possibly they provide some function that serves the interest of the urchin, such as cleaning parasites from the body.

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