Short-Spined Urchin

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Echinometra lacunter - (Linnaeus, 1758)
Short-Spined Urchin

A short-spined urchin good at controlling hair algae in the reef aquarium. Janine Cairns-Michael


Three Echinometra species are common in the hobby, but E. lacunter is probably the most common, hitchhiking in on aquacultured Carib­bean live rock. Colors are black or dark purple, sometimes with a reddish cast, and the color is uniformly distributed over the animal and spines. Spines are shorter, about 1 in. (2.5 cm) long in adults, blunter and significantly less dangerous than on Diadema urchins. The spines project completely around the animal.

Family: Echinometridae

Other common name(s):

  • Rock Urchin

Native range:

Habitat: In nature, these animals may bore holes in reef rock and live in them, foraging near the holes after dark for algae.

Maximum length: 7.6 cm (3 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 190 L (50 gal)

Lighting: Immaterial.

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


Primarily herbivorous; will take meaty foods.

Aquarium Compatibility

Good reef inhabitants, if they have enough food and proper water conditions. They are good at controlling hair algae.

Special Care

Salinity should remain at or slightly above 36 ppt, with temperatures around 82°F (28°C).


Echinometra mathei, found on Indo-Pacific rock, is effectively identical.

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