Sea Urchins are present on most Muck Dives here in Lembeh Strait. And they are not only decoration for the dive sites but also home to many cool Critters. The urchins long spines offer a protected home to fishes and other animals alike. Often appearing in groups, a field of sea urchins is a amazing micro habitat and a real treasure chamber for the passionate critter hunter.
Most commonly seen are the Radiant and the Black Longspine Sea Urchin. These Urchins are seen mostly shallow and also often in bigger groups. They are home to different Cardinal Fishes and other juvenile fishes as well as different types of crabs and shrimps: For example the attractive Zebra Crab. Some Urchins also turn into a mobile home when they get carried by Urchin Carry Crabs. Another cool Urchin is the Collector Urchin – his sticky spines collect leafs and other debris to give him camouflage and protection. In this Urchin you can find the tiny Urchin Bumblebee Shrimps.
The most popular Sea Urchin is the Fire Urchin. These soft shelled urchins tend to stay in deeper and colder water and have the most beautiful colouration. Plus they offer the coolest inhabitants: The Zebra Crab, the Yellow Squat Lobster as well as the attractive Coleman Shrimps. These shrimps are only found in the Fire Urchins and are one of the most popular photo subjects in Lembeh Strait.
UW Photographers always should be careful when photographing their subjects. That goes even more for photographing Sea Urchins … or near them. You can not only easily get stung – the spines also quickly break and are difficult to get back out. Special attention is reccomended with Fire Urchins (as the name suggests) and the poisonous flower urchin.