Pincushion Urchin (Lytechinus variegatus)

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Pincushion Urchin

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Pincushion Urchin

Lytechinus variegatus

76 Litres (20 US G.)

5.1-20.3cm (2-8 ")


8.1 - 8.4

22.2-25.6°C (72 -78 °F)

8-12 °d

1:1 M:F

Other (See article)

3-5 years

Alternative names[edit]

Green Sea Urchin, Pincushion Urchin, Sea Egg, variegated sea urchin


It is impossible to tell the male and female apart based on appearance.

Tank compatibility[edit]

Reef safe


This is an omnivorous Urchin. It will graze on algae and can be supplemented with dried seaweed. It may also eat sessile invertebrates.

Feeding regime[edit]

This Urchin needs a constant supply of algae or can be supplemented with dried seaweed daily.

Environment Specifics[edit]

It is sensitive to high levels of copper-based medications and it will not tolerate high nitrate levels. It needs a well established tank with lots of live rock for grazing and hiding. It is also a perfect addition to a tank with aggressive fish to control algae. Poor water quality will cause it to lose all of its spines!


Peaceful but it may eat some soft or hard corals and sessile invertebrates if there isn't enough algae or dried seaweed provided. Sturdy rock work is a must as it may topple lose rocks while grazing. It is generally solitary, but will tolerate others of its own kind.


Color ranges from purple, white, blue and red. Short spines and visible tube feet. It is round or oblong in shape. The tube feet are aligned in five doubled rows.


External links[edit]