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Asthenosoma varium

Asthenosoma varium is a sea urchin (an echinoderm, a member of the phylum that also includes star fish). Growing up to 22 cm (9 in.) in diameter, it lives on sand and rubble sea bottoms in the Indo-Pacific, from the Red Sea to Australia and Southern Japan. Its venom tipped spines, with distinctive globular swellings below the tip, can inflict a painful sting if handled; the pain lasts as long as several hours. This capacity, perhaps coupled with its reddish brown color, has given it the common name Fire Urchin.

Closup of Asthenosoma varium, showing distinctive spines

It plays host to the commensal shrimp Periclemenes colemani and the zebra crab, Zebrida adamsii.[1][2][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ T. Gosliner, D. Behrens & G. Williams (1996). Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific. p. 271. 
  2. ^ Matteo Guardini & Massimo Boyer. "Fire Urchin". World Database of Marine Species. Retrieved March 11, 2012. 
  3. ^ Paul Humann & Ned DeLoach (2010). Reef Creature Identification: Tropical Pacific. p. 448. 


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