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Linnaeus, 1758

Common Sea Urchin

Test usually globular, more rarely depressed or subconical; up to 16 cm in horizontal diameter. Colour of test an intense red, on which the white spines are very conspicuous. More rarely it is pale purplish or pale green.

Buccal plates
Buccal membrane with few, usually thin, plates, mostly imbedded in the skin, which appears rather naked. Three pore pairs in each ambulacral plate (E. esculentus test).

Test closely covered with short spines, among which the primaries are scarcely conspicuous. In smaller specimens, the secondary spines are not as large as the primary ones. Only every second or third ambulacral plate carries a primary spine.

Ophicephalous pedicellariae are found on the buccal plates. Globiferous pedicellariae are fairly large, usually with only one lateral tooth on each side, below the end tooth. Tridentate pedicellariae have long and slender blades.

It is mostly found on hard-substrata with algae, but is found till depths of 1200 m.

In the North Sea, the species is common in all areas with hard-substrata. Elsewhere it is distributed from Finmark and Iceland to the coast of Portugal. It is not known from the Mediterranean.

This species can form hybrids with Echinus acutus and Psammechinus miliaris.

Common Sea Urchin (Echinus esculentus)