Fire Urchins

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Asthenosoma spp. - Grube, 1868
Fire Urchins

Fire Urchins can inflict a painful, dangerous sting. Janine Cairns-Michael


Vividly colored, these stinging urchins have a flexible, rather than rigid, body. Long, fragile spines are visible, but small, comblike groups of shorter spines are found between them. These smaller spines have repetitive swellings that look like beads, and they have bulbous poison sacs just below the tips. The venom sacs are colored bright blue in some species, bright white in others.

Family: Echinothuriidae

Other common name(s):

Native range:

Maximum length: 15 cm (6 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 380 L (100 gal)

Lighting: Immaterial.

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)


Herbivorous; need an occasional meaty meal.

Aquarium Compatibility

Not suitable for a reef aquarium.

Special Care

Transferring them or inadvertently touching them during maintenance could be dangerous. If the spines pierce the skin, the pain is often sharp and immediate, but it also often seems to increase in intensity over the next few hours.


Careless aquarists can be seriously injured, and these animals ought not to be collected from the reef.

Reference: A PocketExpert Guide to Marine Invertebrates
Image credit: JCM
Text credit: RLS