PORT PHILLIP BAY


Sea Urchin 

Protenaster australis (Gray, 1851)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

See below for information.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Echinodermata
Class:
Echinoidea
Order:
Spatangoida
Family:
Schizasteridae
Genus:
Protenaster
Species:
australis

General Description

Spines may be orange-brown and the test may be a faint pink. There is a latero-anal fasciole. Test diameter up to 8 cm.

Biology

An elusive species and unlike many heart urchins that bury themselves by slowly sinking into the sediment, this species rocks from side to side whilst excavating sand away from either side as it makes a burrow. It is occasionally washed ashore after stormy weather.

Habitat

In sand burrows, below low tide in shallow waters, to depth of 13 m.

Soft substrates

Coastal shores

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Sea urchins

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)
Shallow (1-30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

8 cm

Diet

Plankton or Particles

Harmful

Spines can puncture skin. Venom status unknown.

Commercial Species

No

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Identify

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Miskelly, A.

Ashley Miskelly is a Consultant with expertise in echinoid taxonomy

citation

Cite this page as:
Miskelly, A., 2011, Sea Urchin, Protenaster australis, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 15 Dec 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/7732

Text: creative commons cc by licence