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Hatpin Urchin
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith
Sea Urchins
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Echinothrix calamaris

Long-spine Banded Sea Urchin

Quick Stats:   Hatpin Urchin

Family: Diadematidae
Range: Indo-Pacific
Size: Up to 3 inches without the spines
Diet: Juvenile: Herbivore, Adult: Carnivore
Tank Set-up: Marine: Coral or rock, coarse sand
Reef Compatible: With caution
Tank Conditions: 72-78ºF; sg 1.023-1.025; pH 8.1-8.4
Temperament: Peaceful
Venomous: Yes
Care Level: Moderate


The Hatpin Urchin, also known as the Longspined Urchin, or Banded Longspine Urchin, has a black central body with long, sharp spines, sometimes reaching 6 inches in length. The spines have hundreds of alternating light and dark bands. Some spines are strong, thick, and hollow, whereas others are shorter and finer.

During the day it often hides in rocky crevices, and in the wild, can be found in large aggregations with other Hatpin Urchins. The aquarium should have stable rock work and some shaded areas. During the night, the Hatpin Urchin comes out to feed. Juveniles generally eat algae, and the adults are carnivores, preying on invertebrates. Smaller fish, such as the Banggai Cardinal, will often seek shelter among its spines during the day, leaving their protection at night to eat. It will not tolerate copper-based medications and needs low nitrate levels. If it begins to shed its spines, it is a sign of poor water quality.

Use care when handling the Hatpin Urchin, since a sting from the spine is similar to a bee sting.

In the aquarium, food can be placed near its spines or even on them. The spines have the ability to transport the food to its mouth.

 

Photo courtesy of T.F.H. Publications, publishers of the Burgess Atlas.

Click here for a pdf version of this article.  See related products at DrsFosterSmith.com Pet Supplies  
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