Flower Urchin

Toxopneustes pileolus

This moderately large urchin has only short and inconspicuous spines, but it is covered with large flower-like stalked tentacles tipped with jaws (pedicellariae), each with a red throat, and it is these that are dangerous. The pedicellariae can inject an extrememly toxic venom through soft skin, and deaths have been reported. They can be found browsing on seagrasses, rubble, and around reefs, often partially buried. Never pick one of these up; if envenomated seek urgent medical attention.

They are widespread across the Indian and western to central Pacific Oceans, down to 90 m depth.

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