Heart urchin

Abatus cordatus

ORDER

Spatangida

FAMILY

Schizasteridae

TAXONOMY

Abatus cordatus Verrill, 1876.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Diameter can reach 2.3 in (6 cm). Coloration usually brownish yellow. Oval shaped with dense coat of fine spines that keep sediment clear of test during burrowing activity.

DISTRIBUTION

Limited distribution. Endemic to the Kerguelen Islands, Antarctica.

HABITAT

Inhabits shallow inlets and bays, living buried in fine sand usually protected from wave swell.

BEHAVIOR

Little known, but lives within dense populations.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Little known but other species belonging to the genus Abatus are deposit feeders, usually gathering detritus with their tube feet.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Females brood their young in dorsal pouch. The strategy is to produce few eggs and small amounts of sperm at any one time. The advantage is a higher survival rate of offspring compared to the more usual strategy of broadcasting species.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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