Aquarium & Tropical Fish Site

Mespilla globulus
Blue Tuxedo (Pincushion) Urchin

 Age of Aquariums > Saltwater Fish

Photos & Comments

globulus1.jpg (15kb)
Photo Credit: Skipper

Name: Mespilla globulus
Origin: Indo-Pacific Oceans

Size Behavior Reef
5 cm Peaceful Low Risk


One of the few sea urchins which are considered reef safe (many long-spined varieties will push over live rock, detach corals, and dessimate the coraline algae on the rock). It truly does look like a pincushion (I don't now about the blue tuxedo part, but it is distinctive looking). Mine will crawl around the rock for hours and does a very good job of cleaning up the algae. It does still occasionally knock small frags around, but not nearly as much so as other urchins, since it is short-spined. It is amusing to watch it as its sucker feet get stuck to a variety of junk in the tank, pieces of sand, detritus and macroalgae, which it carries on its back as it moves along slowly. I have not had any real problems with this species yet, though I do suspect it's taking off more coraline than I'd like...but it's so cute, I have a hard time holding a grudge!

Contributed by Cecilia Chen

I have had my live rock almost striped bare of its coraline algae thanks to this thing. As Cecilia said, they are cute but I'm afraid they are more trouble than they are worth in a reef tank.

Contributed by Greg Horn

I have had no problem with my short spined sea urchin. Mine is actually pink and everybody that sees it find it so fascinating. It does knock over things every blue moon but it does such a great job cleaning my rocks of algae. It has a tendency to carry a lot of excess debris that it find from the floor and even pick up a snail or hermit crab by accident. My corraline seems to be growing fine on my rocks and this urchin is the only one I know that will not eat or at least eat very little of my corraline. I have a pincusion urchin in my FOWL tank and it is much more boring and will eat things I want to keep. It is more prone to knock over things as well.

Contributed by Frank LaPoint

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