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Key hole urchin
Mellita sexiesperforata
(Leske, 1778)

Description:
Disc-shaped, flattened body. Recognized by the six holes all the way through the body. In outline slightly wider than long. Densely covered with very short spines. The color ranges from light brown to sand color.
Size: Body up to 15 cm. Spines up to 1 cm.

Habitat:
Inhabits shallow, sandy areas around reefs. It hides during the day in the sand.
Depth: ranges from 0 m down to 15 m.

Distribution:
Common all over the Caribbean.

Remarks:
Another species, Mellita quinquiesperforata occurs in the region in the same habitat. It can be recognized by the presence of five holes through the body instead of six.
A third species with holes through the body, Encope michelini, occurs along the Florida coast from the Dry Tortugas up the Gulf coast and in Yucatan. It only has one hole, but has four marginal slits along the edge of the body.

Key hole urchin (Mellita sexiesperforata)