Phylum Echinodermata > Class Echinodea > sea urchins
White sea urchin
Salmacis sp.
Family Temnopleuridae
updated Jan 14

Where seen? This almost-cuddly white sea urchin is seasonally common on our Northern shores among seagrasses. At some times, many of these sea urchins are seen, and then none seen for some time. On Cyrene Reef, gatherings of many of these sea urchins are sometimes seen.

Body diameter 5-8cm, with tiny sharp white spines (1-1.5cm).
Spines on the upper side are sharp. Spines on the underside have spade-like tips. Some have white spines with maroon bands, others with all maroon spines, and yet others with green and maroon bands. It is not certain if these are different species or just colour variations. It has long tube feet and is often seen carrying all kinds of things from shells to seaweeds. It can quickly gather these things to cover itself. This behaviour may help camouflage it or shield it from sunlight.

What does it eat? It eats seaweeds.

Sometimes, a worm-like creature is found curled around the mouth of the White sea urchin. Examination of tests (skeleton of a dead sea urchin) suggest that large snails might prey on them.

Sometimes gathered in large numbers.
Cyrene Reef, Apr 07

Changi, May 08

White spines with maroon bands.
Changi, May 08

White spines with green and maroon bands.
Cyrene Reef, Apr 08

With maroon spines.
Changi, May 06

Hole with 'burn' mark suggests the urchin
was attacked by a Helmet snail.
Changi, May 08

Worm-like thing seen on the underside.
Changi, Oct 10

Carrying stuff.
Beting Bronok, May 06

White sea urchins on Singapore shores

Photos for free download from wildsingapore flickr
Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

more photos of white sea urchins on Singapore shores

Salmacis species recorded for Singapore
from Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity in Singapore.
**from WORMS

  Family Temnopleuridae
  Salmacis bicolor
Salmacis dussumieri=**Salmaciella dussumieri
Salmacis sphaeroides
Salmacis vigulata



  • Schoppe, S., 2000. Echinoderms of the Philippines. Times Edition, Singapore. 144 pp.
  • Miskelly, Ashely. 2002. Sea Urchins of Australia and the Indo-Pacific. Capricornia Publications. 180pp.
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