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Tasmania




Long spined urchin

Sea Urchin on rockThe Long-Spined Sea Urchin Centrostephanus rodgersii was first identified in Tasmanian coastal waters in 1978. It has since spread down the Tasmanian east coast to Storm Bay. In large numbers, the urchin can be very destructive, consuming all native vegetation leaving only barrens. Reef areas so affected have been likened to a 'moon-scape'. It is estimated that 50% of the subtidal reef area from Port Stephens to Cape Howe, a distance of approximately 570 kilometers of coastal New South Wales is barren as a result of this urchins.

Studies investigating the impact of this urchin in New South Wales have indicated that there is a negative relationship between it and the abalone Haliotis rubra. Where Centrostephanus is abundant there are few abalone. When Centrostephanus is removed there is higher recruitment of the abalone to those areas.

Information from the Long-Spined Sea Urchin survey will be passed onto researchers at the University of Tasmania who are currently assessing the status of this urchin in Tasmania.

Centrostephanus rodgersii

 

 

 

The Long-Spined Sea Urchin is the only urchin species in Tasmania with hollow spines and where the spines are longer than half the shell diameter. It is the largest urchin species in the state.

 

 

 

 

Sightings of Long-Spined Sea Urchin outside of the current known range or queries should be sent to the Zoology Department, University of Tasmania (Professor Craig Johnson) after February 2002.

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