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Sea Urchins and Sand Dollars: Echinoidea - Sea Urchins, Sand Dollars, And People

Animal Life ResourceJellyfish, Sponges, and Other Simple AnimalsSea Urchins and Sand Dollars: Echinoidea - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Sea Urchins, Sand Dollars, And People, Long-spined Sea Urchin (diadema Savignyi): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS


In the United States, red, purple, and green sea urchins are harvested for their eggs, which people eat. In Japan, urchin eggs and reproductive organs are eaten as delicacies. In areas where predators of sea urchins have been over-fished, huge numbers of sea urchins damage the environment. In the Caribbean Sea, for example, sea urchins have caused ninety percent of the erosion of coral reefs. Because they are so efficient at consuming unwanted algae and waste, sea urchins are used in aquariums. Sand dollar shells are prized by beachcombers and collectors.


The spines of long-spined sea urchins puncture human skin, leaving deep and painful wounds. The tips of the spines easily break off under the skin and are almost impossible to remove.

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