E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Strongylocentrotus purpuratus (Stimpson, 1857)
Purple Sea Urchin
Family: Stronglylocentrotidae

© Rick Kwitkoski  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #12598)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Strongylocentrotus purpuratus in British Columbia
Details about map content are available here.

Introduction


The Purple Sea Urchin is found along the eastern edge of the Pacific Ocean, from Mexico north to British Columbia, where it occurs in lower intertidal and nearshore subtidal communities and is a significant component of the kelp forest (Wikipedia 2011). This species is fairly easy to recognize. It looks a lot like a purple pin cushion because of its round inner shell, and generally reaches diameters of about 10 cm (Race Rocks 2011). The shell is covered with pincers, tube feet and purple spines (adults are purple, juveniles have green spines) (Monterey Bay Aquarium 2011). The spines may be up to 2 cm in length are used to spear food and provide some protection (Monterey Bay Aquarium 2011, Race Rocks 2011). The tube feet serve several purposes: they are used for movement, to pass food down to the mouth, and to 'breathe' (gases are exchanged here). "An urchin uses its teeth and spines to dig holes in stones, which become the sea urchin’s hideaway." (Monterey Aquarium 2011). The Purple Sea Urchin feeds on a variety of species, from algae and plankton, to kelp, periwinkles, and occasional small barnacles or mussels (Race Rocks 2011). Predators include crabs, sunflower stars, snails, sea otters, some birds, fish, and people--a small Purple Sea Urchin fishery is present. Typical life span of the Purple Sea Urchin is70 years.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
COSEWIC
UnlistedUnlistedUnlistedUnlisted
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References


Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2021-06-14 11:16:08 AM]
Disclaimer: The information contained in an E-Fauna BC atlas pages is derived from expert sources as cited (with permission) in each section. This information is scientifically based.  E-Fauna BC also acts as a portal to other sites via deep links.  As always, users should refer to the original sources for complete information.  E-Fauna BC is not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of the original information.


© E-Fauna BC: An initiative of the Spatial Data Lab, Department of Geography, UBC