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Florida Manatee & Aquatic Center Animal Fact Sheet
PENCIL URCHIN
Eucidaris tribuloides

Range:
Can be found in the Caribbean Atlantic Oceans from Bermuda to Brazil.

At first glance, these spiny creatures look to inanimate. However, the Pencil Urchin is very much alive and usually moves by way of the ocean current. Also, not only do Pencil Urchins assist in controlling algae, consuming debris and helping to maintain the balance of life on coral reefs, they also provide homes for tiny red shrimps that like to live among their spines

 




Habitat: Live mostly on reefs and in coral crevices, but can also be found in turtle grass beds.
Diet: Pencil Urchins eat both marine algae and meaty foods that it comes across while scavenging rocks. At night it will come out and forage for food, looking particularly for algae covered areas and smaller invertebrates like sea squirts or sponges.
Status: Not Evaluated
Approximate Dimensions of Adult:

Length: 2-3 in

Lifespan: Up to 15 years.
Reproduction & Offspring:

Pencil Urchins reproduce by spawning their eggs and sperm into the ocean at the same time. Females can produce thousands to millions of jelly covered eggs. After they become large enough, these urchins will begin to search for food throughout the reef. After about two years the urchin stops growing and is able to reproduce.


 

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