Overview

Brief Summary

Fossil species

recent & fossil

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Biology

The common sea urchin browses on seaweeds and invertebrates (2), moving along the sea floor by means of 'tube feet', which project out from the spines (4). The mouth is located centrally on the underside of the test, and is furnished with a group of 5 specialised calcareous plates, known as an 'Aristotle's lantern' which acts as a jaw (4). The sexes are separate, breeding takes place in spring, and fertilisation is external (3). A microscopic four-armed larval stage forms; this 'echinopluteus' larva is free-swimming and makes up an important part of the plankton for around 8 weeks, before undergoing a complex metamorphosis into a small urchin (3). Maturity is reached at between 1 and 3 years of age, and estimates of maximum lifespan vary from 10 to 16 years of age (3).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Description

The edible or common sea urchin has a large, rounded 'shell', which is actually an external skeleton, correctly called a 'test', composed of calcareous plates. It is usually pinkish-red in colour but more rarely may be shades of yellow, green or purple (2). The shape of the test varies depending on the depth of the water; those of individuals living in shallow water tend to be more flat than those of individuals living in deep water (3). The Latin name for the genus 'Echinus' derives from the Greek for 'spiny'; the test bristles with many protective reddish spines with lilac coloured tips (2).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Comprehensive Description

Description

 A large globular sea urchin, up to 15 -16 cm in diameter at 7-8 years of age, although the largest diameter recorded was 17.6 cm. The test may be relatively flat in shallow water but taller in deep water. Test pinkish-red but occasionally yellow, green or purple. Spines closely cover the test and are reddish, usually with violet points and white bosses. Primary and secondary spines and their bosses are similar in size, except in small specimens in which the primaries are conspicuous. Ambulacral plates bear 3 pairs of pores. Primary tubercles (bosses) found on every second or third ambulacral plate. All coronal plates bear pedicellariae (modified spines). Plates covering the mouth membrane bear small, club shaped spines as well as pedicellariae. Globeriferous pedicellariae bear 1 lateral tooth below the terminal tooth. The polychaete Flabelligera affinis may be found amongst its spines.The genus Echinus is derived from the Greek 'echinos' meaning 'a hedgehog'. An omnivorous grazer feeding on seaweeds (e.g. Laminaria spp. sporelings), Bryozoa, barnacles and other encrusting invertebrates. Size range varies depending on age and locality, e.g. c. 4 cm at 1 year, 4-7 cm at 2 years, 7 -9 cm at 3 years and 9-11 cm at 4 years. This species may hybridize with Echinus acutus if sympatric.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

©  The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Source: Marine Life Information Network

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Description

The common sea urchin in shallow water in the British Isles. Globular in shape and pink in colour. The spines are abundant, relatively short and more or less all of one size in larger specimens. Up to 15cm. diameter. Echinus acutus has not been recorded by divers but may occur in shallow water on North Sea coasts. It normally lives in deep water (200m+) and has fewer spines with obvious, long, robust primaries 2-4 times the size of the smaller secondaries.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© National Museums Northern Ireland and its licensors

Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Distribution

From low intertidal, but mainly in the sublittoral zone, down to 40 m depth, occasionally deeper, on rocks, stones or seaweed; the common sea urchin all round the British Isles
  • Southward, E.C.; Campbell, A.C. (2006). [Echinoderms: keys and notes for the identification of British species]. Synopses of the British fauna (new series), 56. Field Studies Council: Shrewsbury, UK. ISBN 1-85153-269-2. 272 pp.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Not mediterranean
  • Hayward, P.J.; Ryland, J.S. (Ed.) (1990). The marine fauna of the British Isles and North-West Europe: 1. Introduction and protozoans to arthropods. Clarendon Press: Oxford, UK. ISBN 0-19-857356-1. 627 pp.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Found around most of the British Isles but becomes rare in S. Devon and Dorset and absent in the eastern part of the English Channel. Also reported to be absent in parts of Anglesey and N. Wales.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© National Museums Northern Ireland and its licensors

Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Range

Although widespread and common in much of Britain, this species is absent from some areas of north Wales, the east coast of England and the eastern part of the English Channel (2). It has a broad range in northwest Europe (3), from Finland and Iceland in the north, reaching south to Portugal (2).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Marine
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Depth range based on 743 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 117 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 100.5
  Temperature range (°C): 6.845 - 12.348
  Nitrate (umol/L): 1.473 - 10.018
  Salinity (PPS): 34.218 - 35.363
  Oxygen (ml/l): 6.013 - 6.665
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.333 - 0.771
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.720 - 5.963

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 100.5

Temperature range (°C): 6.845 - 12.348

Nitrate (umol/L): 1.473 - 10.018

Salinity (PPS): 34.218 - 35.363

Oxygen (ml/l): 6.013 - 6.665

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.333 - 0.771

Silicate (umol/l): 1.720 - 5.963
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

 Found on rocky substrata from the sublittoral fringe to circa 40 m, although it may be found at depths of 100 m or more.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

©  The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Source: Marine Life Information Network

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

An almost ubiquitous species on hard substrata in northern Britain especially in the infralittoral zone where it grazes on algae and encrusting animals.
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© National Museums Northern Ireland and its licensors

Source: Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Occasionally may be found on the lower shore, but highest densities occur offshore (3), where it lives on rocky surfaces (2). It usually reaches depths of around 40 m, but has been found at over 100 m deep (2).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Associations

Animal / parasite / ectoparasite
adult of Pelseneeria stylifera ectoparasitises Echinus esculentus

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Breeding

Echinopluteus larva. Early sumer
  • Southward, E.C.; Campbell, A.C. (2006). [Echinoderms: keys and notes for the identification of British species]. Synopses of the British fauna (new series), 56. Field Studies Council: Shrewsbury, UK. ISBN 1-85153-269-2. 272 pp.
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Echinus esculentus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LR/nt
Lower Risk/near threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
2.3

Year Assessed
1996
  • Needs updating

Assessor/s
World Conservation Monitoring Centre

Reviewer/s

Contributor/s

History
  • 1994
    Insufficiently Known
    (Groombridge 1994)
  • 1990
    Insufficiently Known
    (IUCN 1990)
  • 1988
    Insufficiently Known
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
  • 1986
    Insufficiently Known
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources

Source: IUCN

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Status

Widespread in Britain. Classified as Lower Risk/ near threatened (LR/nt) on the IUCN Red List 2002 (2).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Threats

The common and scientific names suggest that this sea urchin is edible (esculentus is the Latin word for 'edible'), yet only the reproductive organs (roe) can be eaten (5). There is a large international market for sea urchin products, particularly the roe (6). Exploitation of sea urchins grew rapidly in many countries, and in many cases over-exploitation and collapse of the sea urchin populations followed (6). There was a sea urchin fishery in Cornwall in the 1980s, and the potential of a fishery in Shetland has been investigated (2). The edible sea urchin has also been collected commercially for the curio trade (2).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Management

Conservation

This species occurs in a number of candidate Special Areas of Conservation (7).
Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© Wildscreen

Source: ARKive

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Risks

IUCN Red List Category

IUCN Red List 1996 Low Risk/Near Threatened (Vers. 2.3)
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© WoRMS for SMEBD

Source: World Register of Marine Species

Trusted

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Wikipedia

Echinus esculentus

Echinus esculentus, the European edible sea urchin or common sea urchin, is a species of marine invertebrate in the Echinidae family. It is found in coastal areas of northwestern Europe down to a depth of 1200 metres.[2] It is considered "Near threatened" in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.[3]

Description[edit]

E. esculentus is approximately spherical but slightly flattened at both poles. It is reddish or purplish with white tubercles and grows to about ten centimetres in diameter. The brittle, limy test is rigid and divided into five ambulacral areas separated by five inter-ambulacral areas. There are two rows of plates in each of these areas, making twenty rows of plates in total. The test is covered in spines each articulating with a tubercle. There is a dense covering of secondary spines and a smaller number of longer, primary spines, carried on each second or third ambulacral plate. The spines are blunt ended and usually white with purplish tips. There is a radially symmetrical pattern of holes in the ambulacral areas through which the tube feet emerge. On the buccal plates round the mouth on the underside are pedicellariae, defensive organs like minute pincers, each with two lateral teeth and one terminal tooth.[2][4] It typically reaches a diameter of 15–16 cm (5.9–6.3 in), but has been recorded to 17.6 cm (6.9 in).[5]

Distribution[edit]

In the North Sea, the species is common in all areas with hard substrates. It is found off the coasts of Portugal, Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Ireland.[2]

Biology[edit]

The mouthparts are designed for rasping and E. esculentus feeds on algae and encrusting invertebrates.[6] It has been recorded feeding on worms, barnacles, hydroids, tunicates, bryozoans, algae such as Laminaria spp., sludge and detritus.[7]

Spawning mainly occurs in the spring and a large female may release about 20 million eggs into the water column. The larvae become part of the plankton, the development of which is complex and takes between forty-five to sixty days in captivity.[8] It includes a blastula, gastrula and a four armed echinopluteus stage that forms an important part of the zooplankton.[9] Settlement mostly occurs in autumn and winter and the largest number of juvenile urchins was found at a greater depth than the kelp zone.[10]

The polychaete worm, Adyte assimilis and the copepod Pseudoanthessius liber are often found living as commensals among its spines and the parasitic copepod, Asterocheres echinola, often infests its gut.[11]

Use as food[edit]

The species name esculentus means "edible" and sea urchin roe is used as food around the world. It is not actually the eggs that are eaten but the gonads, both male and female.[12] Fishing for urchins is undertaken off European coasts and the possibility of aquaculture is being investigated. In a study off the west coast of Scotland it was found that feeding a commercially available salmon feed promoted gonadal growth in the urchins and the practicalities of a fully farmed approach were being assessed.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Andreas Kroh & Hans Hansson (2011). "Echinus esculentus". In A. Kroh & R. Mooi. World Echinoidea Database. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved June 25, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Marine Species Identification Portal
  3. ^ World Conservation Monitoring Centre (1996). "Echinus esculentus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2.3. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved June 25, 2011. 
  4. ^ John Barrett and C M Young, Collins Pocket Guide to the Sea Shore (1958) p.181
  5. ^ MarLIN: Edible sea urchin - Echinus esculentus. Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  6. ^ Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland
  7. ^ Lawrence, J.M., 1975. On the relationship between plants and sea-urchins. Oceanography and Marine Biology: an Annual Review, 13, 213-286.
  8. ^ MacBride, E.W., 1914. Textbook of Embryology, Vol. I, Invertebrata. London: MacMillan & Co.
  9. ^ MacBride, E.W., 1903. The development of Echinus esculentus together with some points on the development of E. miliaris and E. acutus. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 195, 285-327.
  10. ^ Comely, C.A. & Ansell, A.D., 1988. Invertebrate associates of the sea urchin Echinus esculentus L. from the Scottish west coast. Ophelia, 28, 111-137.
  11. ^ MarLIN
  12. ^ John M. Lawrence (2001). The edible sea-urchins. In John Miller Lawrence. "Edible Sea Urchins: Biology and Ecology". Developments in Aquaculture and Fisheries Science 32: 1–4. doi:10.1016/S0167-9309(01)80002-8. 
  13. ^ M. S. Kelly, P. V. Owen & P. Pantazis (2001). The commercial potential of the common sea urchin Echinus esculentus from the west coast of Scotland. In G. Burnell. "Coastal Shellfish – a Sustainable Resource". Hydrobiologia 465 (1–3): 85–94. doi:10.1023/A:1014553010711. 
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Source: Wikipedia

Unreviewed

Article rating from 0 people

Default rating: 2.5 of 5

Disclaimer

EOL content is automatically assembled from many different content providers. As a result, from time to time you may find pages on EOL that are confusing.

To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!