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Fire Urchin

Asthenosoma varium


Fire urchins (a.k.a. Varium Sea Urchin) have very short but very potently poisonous spines. And yet, it is not uncommon to find commensal shrimp (especially the Coleman shrimp) and/or crab upon them. They vary in color (but in the Davao Gulf, they are mostly red) and grow to a diameter of about 25cm. They feed on invertebrates, sponges and even dead fish.


Found singly or in groups on sand and rubble areas in open waters, shallow or deep. The deepest I've spotted a fire urchin was at around 35m. Widespread in the Indo-Pacific region.


I photographed this particular urchin during a day dive at a depth of less than 8m, near the shore.

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Spotted by

Davao Del Norte, Philippines

Spotted on Nov 27, 2011
Submitted on Dec 7, 2011

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