MarLIN

information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Purple heart urchin (Spatangus purpureus)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.

Summary

Description

A large, spectacular, violet coloured heart urchin that grows up to 12 cm long. Some of the long upper spines are white. The bivalve mollusc Montacuta substriata is often found attached to spines.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

All British and Irish coasts

Global distribution

-

Habitat

Occurs buried just below the surface of coarse sand or gravel, including maerl but rarely mud, in wave sheltered areas in the infralittoral fringe, down to about 900 m.

Depth range

-

Identifying features

  • Broad, low and heart-shaped, deep violet colour.
  • Labrum rounded.
  • Subanal fasciole about three times as broad as high.
  • Four petaloid ambulacral areas on upper surface not enclosed by a fasciole.
  • Large spine tubercles present on interambulacral, but not on ambulacral, areas.

Additional information

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Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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Bibliography

  1. Hayward, P., Nelson-Smith, T. & Shields, C. 1996. Collins pocket guide. Sea shore of Britain and northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.

  2. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  3. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Wilson, E. 2002. Spatangus purpureus Purple heart urchin. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from: http://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1191

Last Updated: 27/09/2002