ECHINODERMATA : SPATANGOIDA : SpatangidaeSTARFISH, SEA URCHINS, ETC.

Spatangus purpureus O F Müller, 1776


Description: This is a large, somewhat flattened heart urchin, purple in colour. There is a deep notch in the front of the test, corresponding with the frontal ambulacrum, but the petals of the dorsal surface are not indented. There is only a subanal fasciole, no fasciole on the upper surface of the body. Up to 12cm in length.

Habitat: Lives in coarse sand or gravel, usually completely buried but sometimes with the dorsal spines just breaking the surface. Specimens can often be located by looking for furrows in the gravel where the animal has moved along beneath the surface.

Distribution: Found all round the coasts of the British Isles.

Similar Species: Spatangus raschi is similar but has not been found much shallower than 150 metres. It is dome-shaped and only incompletely buries itself.

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
http://www.habitas.org.uk/marinelife/species.asp?item=ZB4010

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