|ECHINODERMATA : ECHINOIDA : Echinidae||STARFISH, SEA URCHINS, ETC.|
Description: A dark purple, almost black, regular sea urchin found on western coasts of Ireland and occasionally elsewhere. The roes of this urchin are edible and are prized as a delicacy in Mediterranean countries. The tube-feet are arranged in arcs of 5-6, visible as 5-6 pore pairs corresponding with each ambulacral plate. Up to 7cm. in diameter.
Habitat: Often in rock pools in limestone rocks where the animals live in hollows which just fit their bodies. Occasionally found in shallow water under rocks and rarely in deeper water to 30m.
Distribution: Used to be found at a few sites in SW England but now very rare there. Still quite common on the west coast of Ireland but many good sites have been stripped of this urchin for export to France. Also found in a few localities off the west coast of Scotland such as Tiree.
Similar Species: Pale specimens are sometimes confused with Psammechinus miliaris.
Key Identification Features:
Distribution Map from BioMar data for Ireland - Google Earth map: download this placemark (not got Google Earth installed?)
Distribution Map from NBN: Grid map (fast) : Interactive map (slow, requires login to view records) : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.
|Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C., 2010. [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland |
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