The Slate Pencil Urchin is a type of sea urchin. Its scientific name is Eucidaris tribuloides. This sea creature lives in parts of the Atlantic Ocean.
Slate Pencil Urchin’s a member of the Cidaroida order, which is a group of very old sea urchins.
What makes a Slate Pencil Urchin cool? Well, it’s got special traits that help scientists learn about evolution.
Who First Described the Slate Pencil Urchin?
The Slate Pencil Urchin was first described by a man named Jean Baptiste Lamarck in 1816. At that time, he named it Cidarites tribuloides.
But now, we use a newer way to classify it, thanks to the works of Pomel in 1883 and Döderlein in 1887.
Where Can We Find the Slate Pencil Urchin?
You can find Slate Pencil Urchin on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and in the Caribbean.
On the western side, Slate Pencil Urchin’s been found as far north as Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and as far south as Rio de Janeiro. It also lives in the Gulf of Mexico.
On the eastern side of the Atlantic, a close relative of the Slate Pencil Urchin, Eucidaris tribuloides var. africana, has been spotted at the Cape Verde Islands, in the Gulf of Guinea, and at the Azores and Ascension Islands.
Has the Slate Pencil Urchin Invaded Any Areas?
The Slate Pencil Urchin has become an invader in some parts of the world. It’s been living in Maltese waters since 1998. This was the first time we saw it in the Mediterranean.
We think the Slate Pencil Urchins might have been brought there by ships in ballast water.
What Does the Slate Pencil Urchin Do During the Day and Night?
During the day, Slate Pencil Urchin is quite lazy. It uses its big spines to hold itself under or on top of rocks or to stick itself in cracks.
Slate Pencil Urchin doesn’t move far from home. But when night comes, it wakes up to eat. It likes to munch on things like corals and sponges.
What Does the Slate Pencil Urchin Feed On?
The Slate Pencil Urchin feeds primarily on corals and sponges. It does this mostly at night.
What Makes the Slate Pencil Urchin Interesting for Science?
The Slate Pencil Urchin is really cool for science. When we look at how it grows, it shows us a lot about evolution.
In some sea urchins, there are small cells that move into the inside of the embryo before it starts to form the gut. These small cells will become the skeleton of the baby urchin.
The Slate Pencil Urchin also has these cells. But they don’t move until it starts to form the gut. Plus, it can have more or less of these cells.
How Does the Slate Pencil Urchin Reproduce?
Like many creatures, the Slate Pencil Urchin’s reproduction is linked to the seasons and the moon.
In the Florida Keys, it’s most ready to have babies in late summer and early fall. But in Panama, it’s ready in spring, summer, and fall, mostly around the full moon.
What Is the Reproduction Cycle of The Slate Pencil Urchin?
The reproduction cycle of the Slate Pencil Urchin depends on the location.
In the Florida Keys, Slate Pencil Urchin’s most gravid in late summer and early fall. In Panama, however, it’s most gravid in spring, summer, and fall, peaking around the full moon.