Brissopsis lyrifera (Forbes, 1841)

Brissopsis lyrifera

Description: A heart-shaped sea urchin with an indentation at the front of the test. The fasciole on the upper side encircles all five petals of the ambulacra and is conspicuous in the living animal. It is characteristically lyre-shaped hence the specific name. About 5cm in length.

Habitat: A characteristic species of fine muddy sand, occurring in large numbers in suitable habitats with Amphiura chiajei. May be commoner in deep water, in Scottish sea lochs it is often associated with Funiculina quadrangularis. Found in depths of 5-365 metres.

Distribution: Known from the west, north and east coasts of the British Isles but not recorded from the south coast.

Similar Species: The only heart urchin likely to be found in muddy sediments.

Key Identification Features:

Distribution Map: NBN map : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.

WoRMS: Species record : World Register of Marine Species.

iNaturalist: Species account : iNaturalist World Species Observations database

 Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C. (2016). Brissopsis lyrifera (Forbes, 1841). [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland. Accessed on 2023-12-11

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