Animal Species:Purple Sea Urchin

The Purple Sea Urchin is one of the most common sea urchins found on Sydney's coast.

Purple Sea Urchin

Dr Isobel Bennett © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Purple Sea Urchin

Identification

Colours can vary so dramatically in this species, from light olive green to pink to a dark purple, that the Purple Sea Urchin was once thought to be three separate species.

Size range

11 cm

Distribution

Purple Sea Urchins are found in southern Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

Habitat

Purple Sea Urchins live on intertidal rocky shores and in coastal waters to a depth of 35 m.

Other behaviours and adaptations

In order to gain protection from predators and the elements, Purple Sea Urchins cluster together and use their sharp spines to burrow into the rock. They are often seen with parts of shells and sand covering its test (body).

Economic/social impacts

This species is sometimes collected for food. In Sydney there are bag limits, and certain rock platforms have been designated Aquatic Reserves where collecting is not permitted.

Classification

Species:
erythrogramma
Genus:
Heliocidaris
Family:
Echinometridae
Order:
Echinoida
Class:
Echinoidea
Phylum:
Echinodermata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?


Last Updated:

Tags sea urchins, echinoderms, invertebrates, wildlife of sydney, identification, marine,