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Short-spined Sea Urchin - Lytechinus variegatus
Photo by Greg McFall

The short-spined sea urchin is usually camouflaged with bits of shell, plant material, and other debris held over its body by tube feet. It is cream-colored to gray-purple with purple blotches, and has abundant spines that row to 1 inch in length.

Short-spined Sea Urchin
(Lytechinus variegatus)

Distribution
From North Carolina to Florida, the Bahamas, and the West Indies

Habitat
Turtle grass flats and sand and gravel bottoms with abundant plant growth

Diet
Algae

Status

The status of this species is representative of the populations within the waters of this Sanctuary only, not global populations.

Quick Fact
Too many short-spined urchins can lead to overgrazing of seagrass habitats.

Learn More
- National Wildlife Federation
- The Echinoid Directory