Eucidaris tribuloides

Eucidaris tribuloides (Slate-pencil Urchin).jpg
Eucidaris tribuloides, the slate pencil urchin, is a species of cidaroid sea urchins that inhabits littoral regions of the Atlantic Ocean. As a member of the basal echinoid order Cidaroida, its morphological, developmental and molecular genetic characteristics make it a phylogenetically interesting species.

Eucidaris tribuloides was first described and classified by Jean Baptiste Lamarck in 1816 as Cidarites tribuloides.

The modern classification stems from the echinoid treatises by Pomel in 1883 and by Döderlein in 1887.

The slate pencil urchin can be found on both sides of the Atlantic, and throughout the Caribbean. On the western side of the Atlantic, the slate pencil urchin has been found as far north as Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and as far south as Rio de Janeiro. In the Gulf of Mexico, populations have been reported at Alacran Reef, Campeche Bank. On the eastern side of the Atlantic, a closely related sub-species, Eucidaris tribuloides var. africana, has been reported at Cape Verde Islands, in the Gulf of Guinea, and at the Azores and Ascension Islands.

E. tribuloides has become an invasive species in some parts of the world including Maltese waters where it has been since 1998. This was the first record in the Mediterranean and is thought to have been brought there in ballast water.

McPherson described E. tribuloides as a "sluggish echinoid" that leads a nocturnal, benthic existence. During daylight hours, the slate pencil urchin uses its large primary spines to anchor itself under or atop rocks or to lodge itself in crevices. Individuals rarely stray far from their locality. At night, they will feed primarily on corals and sponges, among other things.

This page was last edited on 19 February 2018, at 13:02.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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