The Variegated Sea Urchin, Lytechinus variegatus, has been a popular invertebrate in saltwater aquariums for many years. Though these urchins have previously been captive bred for research purposes, ORA is pleased to make these aquacultured urchins commercially available to the Aquarium Industry.
The Variegated Sea Urchin, a type of pincushion urchin, originates from the tropical waters of the Western Atlantic and can usually be found roving shallow sea grass flats and other sandy substrates. In the home aquarium, these urchins are extremely effective herbivores, rapidly consuming nuisance algae. Consequently, aquarists must be sure to provide supplementary macro algae if none is available in the aquarium.
While roaming the aquarium these urchins will frequently display an interesting “covering behavior”. Whether for camouflage or protection from UV radiation they can be observed holding onto small rocks, shells, and pieces of macro algae with their tube feet. ORA Variegated Sea Urchins will certainly be a hard working and beneficial addition to any aquarium.
Check out our blog article on raising the urchins. There are some great pictures of the larvae.