Phyllacanthus parvispinus Click to enlarge image
Slate Pencil Urchin, Phyllacanthus parvispinus Image: Dr Isobel Bennett
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    parvispinus
    Genus
    Phyllacanthus
    Family
    Cidaridae
    Order
    Cidaroida
    Class
    Echinoidea
    Phylum
    Echinodermata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    15 cm

Introduction

The Slate Pencil Urchin is nnamed for its thick blunt spines that resemble old-fashioned pencils.

Identification

With thick, blunt, round spines, this sea urchin is distinctive and is easily identified by beachcombers, snorkellers and divers.

Habitat

Slate Pencil Urchings live on intertidal rocky shores and in coastal waters to a depth of 80 m.

Distribution

The Slate Pencil Urchin are found along the east coast of Australia, including Queensland and New South Wales.

Feeding and diet

The Slate Pencil Urchin is a herbivore. It comes out to feed at night. The mouth is on the underside of the body and is equipped with five sharp teeth used to scrape algae from the rocks.

Other behaviours and adaptations

The Slate Pencil Urchin uses its spines to wedge firmly into holes and crevices during the day.