Echinocyamus pusillus (O F Müller, 1776)

Echinocyamus pusillus

Description: A tiny oval, flattened sea urchin which lives in coarse gravel. When alive its colour is grey-green but on being hurt or damaged it turns bright green. The spines are short and give the animal a velvet texture. The anus is on the underside of the test posterior to the central mouth. Typically only 1cm. in length.

Habitat: Lives buried in coarse gravel where it feeds on detritus and Foraminifera. Difficult to collect owing to its small size.

Distribution: Recorded from all round the British Isles.

Similar Species: Unique, the only member of the order Clypeasteroida in the British Isles.

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. (2015). Echinocyamus pusillus (O F Müller, 1776). [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland. Accessed on 2015-10-13

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