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You are here:   OldClasses > 2012 > Echinometra mathaei | Jake Horton




Echinometra mathaei

  Burrowing urchin

Jake Horton (2012)



Fact Sheet



Physical Description


Life History & Behaviour

Anatomy & Physiology

Evolution & Systematics

Biogeographic Distribution

Conservation & Threats

References & Links


Echinometra mathaei is an echinoid found throughout the Indo-Pacific region. These urchins grow to up to 85mm in size, with spines up to 20mm long and they are generally purple or green in colour. The primary habitat of these urchins are burrows, crevices and under boulders on the reef crest and lagoon edge of tropical reefs. These urchins are free spawning, and can spawn throughout the year. Locomotion is enabled through the use of tube feet, which are also used for respiration. These urchins have a water-vascular system and feed using an appendage known as Aristotle's lantern. The diet of these urchins consists of a variety of algae and sea grasses, along with coral which is scraped of when grazing on algae. A study was conducted on Heron Island to determine if these urchins had a preference for a certain species of algae; however the results were not significant. These urchins are very abundant in the Indo-Pacific region, and are not considered to be under threat.

Figure 1. E.mathaei on a hard coral substrate.