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Echinus esculentus

Echinus esculentus

Common sea urchin

   Echinus esculentus is a globular sea urchin between 10 and 17 cm in diameter. Spines are short, around 1,5 cm long, thick and regular. Their colour is variable: greenish or pale purple. The thick test is purple and red with five clearer bands on the ambulacral plates. When extending, tube-feet are clearly visible among the spines. They are used to adhere to subtratum. The common sea urchin lives on rocks where it feeds on seaweeds, especially laminaria, or bryozoans or other small invertebrates.
It is found from surface to 50 m deep, and sometimes at depths up to 1200m, in the Atlantic Ocean from Norway to Portugal, in the English Channel and the North sea.


 Phylum Echinodermata, class Echinoidea, order Echinoida, family Echinidae, Echinus esculentus Linnaeus, 1758.


 (source : European Register of Marine Species)

  • Echinodermata [Phylum]
  • Echinozoa [Subphylum]
  • Echinoidea [Class]
  • Euechinoidea [Subclass]
  • Echinacea [Superorder]
  • Echinoida [Order]
  • Echinidae [Family]
  • Echinus esculentus Linnaeus, 1758

Page glossary

Test : Rigid skeleton of sea urchins.
Ambulacral plates : Test plates pierced by numerous holes through which tube-feet can extend.
Tube foot : Tube-shaped element ending by a sucker-disc used to attach to subtratum.


Top Photo :
© Wilfried Bay-Nouailhat. Published with author's kind permission: 
Echinus esculentus, Bay of Concarneau, South-Brittany, West of France. Depth 7 meters.
Text :  Anne Bay-Nouailhat © 2005-2020.
Translation :  Anne Bay-Nouailhat © 2007-2020.

How to cite this page in publications

Bay-Nouailhat A., September 2005, Description of Echinus esculentus, Available on line at http://www.european-marine-life.org/30/echinus-esculentus.php, consulted on 10 July 2020.
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