Prionocidaris callista (Rowe and Hoggett, 1986)

Common Name: 
Beautiful Sea Urchin
Distribution: 

Common throughout the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Distributed throughout the Western Pacific region with records from Australia and New Caledonia. In Australia recorded from around Mackay in Queensland south to Eden in New South Wales and including Lord Howe Island, Elizabeth and Middleton reefs.

Ecological Notes: 

Frequents less exposed habitats, rocky reef, large estuaries. Depths to at least 44 m.

Additional Notes: 

A large robust sea urchin usually with colonial organisms such as sponges, bryozoans and hydroids on the spines, and as such are often overlooked. In areas of soft substrate animals of this genera provide the primary hard substrate for a diversity of species including crustaceans and brittle stars. They feed on a variety of organisms depending upon their location, on soft substrates this may consist of benthic material such as bryozoans, sponges and foraminiferans, on hard substrates feed on algaes, encrusting organisms and sponges. Specimen in photograph around 175 mm overall diameter.

References: 

 Identification thanks to Ashley Miskelly, Echinoid Taxonomist, The Sea Urchin Science Centre and Gallery, Kurrajong, NSW.

Byrne, M. and O'Hara. T.D. (eds) (2017). Australian Echinoderms: Biology, Ecology and Evolution. CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne and ABRS, Canberra, 612 pp. p.365.

Atlas of Living Australia website at https://bie.ala.org.au/search?q=Prionocidaris+callista. Accessed 05/10/2019.

Palomares, M.L.D. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2018. SeaLifeBase. World Wide Web electronic publication. www.sealifebase.org, version (10/2018).https://www.sealifebase.ca/summary/Prionocidaris-callista.html. Accessed 05/10/2019.