Rock boring urchin

Echinostrephus aciculatus

ORDER

Echinida

FAMILY

Echinometridae

TAXONOMY

Echinostrephus aciculatus Agassiz, 1863. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Needle-spined urchin, reef boring sea-hedgehog.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Flattened and circular test up to 3.1 in (8 cm) in diameter. Has black to reddish purple coloration with rigid needle-like spines.

DISTRIBUTION

Indo-Pacific coastal waters to a depth of 165 ft (50 m). HABITAT

Lives in rock and coral.

BEHAVIOR

Bores into rock to create living-chamber. Uses spines on its upper surface as defense against predators. As they grow, individuals can become trapped in chamber.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Dependent on catching drifting algae that passes across mouth of burrow. Uses tube feet to capture algae.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Sexual reproduction. Sexes are separate. Eggs and sperm are shed into the water column, where they are fertilized and develop into free-living larvae.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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