Sea Urchins are so difficult to handle with their sharp and sometimes poison laden spines, that their attributes may be overlooked. They are generally major scavengers, and some are excellent algae browsers – a virtue many reef tank enthusiasts search them out for. The long-spined species are a natural protective haven for some fish and other invertebrate animals to enjoy.
The Long Spined Sea Urchin (diadema setosum) is a difficult animal to transport because the sharp spines easily puncture the polythene bags used in packing, so several bags, one inside the other, will be used to achieve success, sometimes including a piece of stiffer plastic for added protection. The anus of this animal looks like a revolving eye when viewed from above!
The Blue Spotted Sea Urchin (astropyga radiata) is one of the toxic species, and should be handled with great care. The poison is not life-threatening but does deliver a nasty sting. Occasionally tiny commensal alpheid shrimps may be found in association with these pretty animals.