Habitat: Society Islands; Moorea; S of Vaiare Pass, French Polynesia, South Pacific Ocean
Status: Not Evaluated
I had no idea what this thing was when I first saw it. At first I thought it might just be some coral or a type of sponge because, honestly, how could this thing actually be alive?! Then, after a little research I realized that this is in fact a sea urchin – a Short-spined Urchin, to be exact (Chondrocidaris brevispina).
These bizarre creatures resemble miniature alien suns with their sharp, sponge-tipped spines which emanate from the center of the animal itself. They’re found anywhere from between 30-35m deep in the areas they inhabit.
It was described in 1925 after it was dredged up as bycatch and to this day remains incredibly rare. There are very few photos and even less information on this fascinating marine animal. If anyone has any other facts or info they’d like to add, please leave me a comment below!