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West Indian Sea Egg

Tripneustes ventricosus (Lamarck 1816)

Behavior

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Tripneustes ventricosus communicates with other individuals when predators are around. Varying in position on the either large or small pedicellariae are both glandular tissue and valves with poison glands. The heads of the pedicellariae automise after they have been used. When this happens, it causes a chain reaction with the pedicellariae of other individuals in the area, and they automise as well.

Communication Channels: chemical

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; chemical

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Warlick, C. 2001. "Tripneustes ventricosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tripneustes_ventricosus.html
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Catherine Warlick, Southwestern University
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Conservation Status

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No information found for this subject.

US Migratory Bird Act: no special status

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

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Warlick, C. 2001. "Tripneustes ventricosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tripneustes_ventricosus.html
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Life Cycle

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The life cycle of Tripneustes ventricosus begins when the eggs of the species are released into the water to be externally fertilized. After fertilization occurs, T. ventricosus goes through a life cycle consisting of a planktotrophic larval stage followed by metamorphosis, after which the species is at the juvenile stage. Growth occurs until the adult stage is reached, at which point the gonads have developed enough to release either eggs or sperm into the water, depending on whether the individual is female or male, respectively. After sexual maturity, T. ventricosus can continue to grow in size, but reproductive capacity will not increase. This life cycle proceeds under normal conditions, but in the event that temperatures become abnormally low, T. ventricosus can become hermaphroditic until temperatures return to normal. Sexual reproduction is the normal method of reproduction, and the species is gonochoric with males and females of approximately equal size. Experimental results have proven inconclusive when determining whether the gender of the species is chromosomally determined.

Development - Life Cycle: metamorphosis ; temperature sex determination

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Warlick, C. 2001. "Tripneustes ventricosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tripneustes_ventricosus.html
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Catherine Warlick, Southwestern University
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Renee Sherman Mulcrone
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Benefits

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Tripneustes ventricosus is in the family Toxopneustidae, the toxic sea urchins. The toxin produced is either injected into other organisms by way of the globiferous pedicellariae, or it is released into the water when the pedicellariae automise after use. Wounds are inflicted in humans by the spines. Sometimes small segments of the spinal epithelium cause a foreign-body reaction, causing either nodules or lesions to form which then have the chance of becoming infected. Although unlikely this is still a the threat for humans.

Negative Impacts: injures humans (bites or stings)

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Warlick, C. 2001. "Tripneustes ventricosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tripneustes_ventricosus.html
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Catherine Warlick, Southwestern University
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Benefits

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Tripneustes ventricosus provides only a couple of benefits for humans, primarily dealing with food and research. It is considered to be a "gourmet delicacy" in the West Indies, the Mediterranean, and Japan. Since large amounts of eggs are easily obtained, more developmental knowledge has been accumulated from the sea urchin than from any other animal.

Positive Impacts: food ; research and education

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Warlick, C. 2001. "Tripneustes ventricosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tripneustes_ventricosus.html
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Catherine Warlick, Southwestern University
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Renee Sherman Mulcrone
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Associations

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Tripneustes ventricosus does not really play any major roles in the ecosystem. Part of the food chain, it keeps the underwater environment diverse.

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Warlick, C. 2001. "Tripneustes ventricosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tripneustes_ventricosus.html
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Catherine Warlick, Southwestern University
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Stephanie Fabritius, Southwestern University
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Renee Sherman Mulcrone
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Trophic Strategy

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Tripneustes ventricosus is an omnivore, depending upon environmental conditions. Foods eaten include algae, aquatic grasses, plants and small organisms in the environment.

For the urchin to feed, there must be a strong flow of water over it. Temperature changes have an effect on feeding. Higher summer temperatures lead to a general slight feeding in the species, whereas in lower temperatures, the feeding rate increases. An important anatomical aspect of feeding is the lantern mechanism. This mechanism provides a way for T. ventricosus to bite off and ingest food.

Animal Foods: aquatic or marine worms; aquatic crustaceans; other marine invertebrates

Plant Foods: algae; macroalgae

Other Foods: microbes

Primary Diet: omnivore

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Warlick, C. 2001. "Tripneustes ventricosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tripneustes_ventricosus.html
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Catherine Warlick, Southwestern University
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Distribution

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Tripneustes ventricosus, a tropical sea urchin, inhabits a region stretching from just north of Miami, Florida south through the West Indies into the Caribbean Sea and down to Brazil. The species is also found off the coast of west Africa.

Biogeographic Regions: atlantic ocean (Native )

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Warlick, C. 2001. "Tripneustes ventricosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tripneustes_ventricosus.html
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Catherine Warlick, Southwestern University
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Renee Sherman Mulcrone
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Habitat

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Within its habitat, Tripneustes ventricosus can be found in two characteristically different places. The first is on sand bottoms in dense beds of grass and algae. The second is on reefs, reef-crest bedrock, and among rocks along shorelines. Tripneustes ventricosus is equipped to withstand the slightly more violent areas such as rocky shorelines and oftentimes coexists with another species, Lytechinus variegatus. This habitat is also tropical with mostly mild to warm temperatures throughout the year.

Range depth: 0 to 55 m.

Habitat Regions: tropical ; saltwater or marine

Aquatic Biomes: reef ; coastal

Other Habitat Features: intertidal or littoral

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Warlick, C. 2001. "Tripneustes ventricosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tripneustes_ventricosus.html
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Catherine Warlick, Southwestern University
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Stephanie Fabritius, Southwestern University
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Renee Sherman Mulcrone
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Life Expectancy

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The lifespan of Tripneustes ventricosus in most cases, is two to three years. Environmental changes, predators, and other external causes can reduce the lifespan of individuals. On the other hand, if an individual is held in captivity with optimum conditions at all times, the lifespan of that individual is likely to increase slightly.

Typical lifespan
Status: wild:
2 to 3 years.

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Warlick, C. 2001. "Tripneustes ventricosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tripneustes_ventricosus.html
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Catherine Warlick, Southwestern University
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Stephanie Fabritius, Southwestern University
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Renee Sherman Mulcrone
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Morphology

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Tripneustes ventricosus has highly developed external appendages. Its body shape is a dark brown, hemispherically shaped test that can grow to horizontal diameters as great as 150 mm. The test is what provides support for internal organs, spines, and tube feet. Three different sizes of short spines with a white coloring protrude from the test as well as globiferous pedicellariae that are covered in a thick, dark brown layer of tissue. Tube feet are located on the aboral side of the urchin and have the same coloring as the test. A white nerve ganglion is visible near the terminal disks, also of the same uniform brown color on the same side, near the tube feet. On the oral side, coloring becomes a lighter brown with spines and feet retaining the same physical characteristics as mentioned above. The peristome, or mouth, is this light brown, but tissue around the jaws returns to the dark brown that is seen on the rest of the urchin.

Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic ; radial symmetry

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Warlick, C. 2001. "Tripneustes ventricosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tripneustes_ventricosus.html
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Catherine Warlick, Southwestern University
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Renee Sherman Mulcrone
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Associations

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Globiferous pedicellariae, or poisonous pedicellariae, are the best line of defense for Tripneustes ventricosus. Varying in position on the either large or small pedicellariae are both glandular tissue and valves with poison glands. The heads of the pedicellariae automise after they have been used, causing a chain reaction with the pedicellariae of other individuals in the area, which automise as well. Released into the surrounding sea water, this automization acts as a defense reaction against the species listed below and against predatory asteroids. The "poison" released from the poison glands has been experimentally determined to be pharmacologically active, and are injurious.

Known Predators:

  • cushion sea stars (Oreaster reticulatus)
  • long-spined sea urchins (Diadema antillarum)
  • slate pencil urchins (Eucidaris tribuloides)
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Warlick, C. 2001. "Tripneustes ventricosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tripneustes_ventricosus.html
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Catherine Warlick, Southwestern University
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Stephanie Fabritius, Southwestern University
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Renee Sherman Mulcrone
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Reproduction

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Sexual reproduction with external fertilization is the normal means of reproduction for Tripneustes ventricosus. Since fertilization is external and in an aquatic environment, it is not necessary for the male to make an effort to mate with the female. Each gender, at the appropriate time, just releases the gametes corresponding to its sex, and that is all that is necessary. The males and females do not interact with one another physically to reproduce. The male to female sex ratio does not deviate much from the normal 1:1 ratio. In individuals with horizontal diameters ranging from 80-100 mm, the ratio is 1:1.5. In the smaller individuals, the ratio is 1:1.

The reproductive behavior of Tripneustes ventricosus relies on a number of factors including temperature and increasing age. There is a correlation between larger gonads and colder winters. Also, reproductive output decreases four-fold with the increasing age of the urchin. Spawning is observed with T. ventricosus, and since the gonads are temperature dependent, the severity of the winter season can be a good indicator of the spawning pattern that will be followed the next summer. In general, this species exhibits two spawnings per year, each of them six months apart.

Breeding interval: every six months

Breeding season: Summer and winter

Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); simultaneous hermaphrodite; sexual ; fertilization (External )

Since external fertilization takes place, the egg, once fertilized, could be miles away from one of the two parent urchins. Therefore, parental care is not observed.

Parental Investment: pre-fertilization (Provisioning)

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Warlick, C. 2001. "Tripneustes ventricosus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Tripneustes_ventricosus.html
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Catherine Warlick, Southwestern University
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Renee Sherman Mulcrone
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Distribution

provided by Echinoderms of Panama

In Panama this species has been collected in the Caribbean from:

-Galeta Island (USNM E 26673)

-La Doncella, Del Padre Island, Colon (USNM 1011698; Centroid Latitude: 9.5800, Centroid Longitude: -79.6700, depth < 1 m)

-North of Palina Island, Colon (USNM 1011706; Centroid Latitude: 9.6131, Centroid Longitude: -79.5972, depth < 1 m)

-In channel off Naranjo Abajo Island, Colon (USNM 1011704; Centroid Latitude: 9.4194, Centroid Longitude: -79.7950, depth < 1 m)

-Pina, Canal Zone (USNM E 14575; Centroid Latitude: 9.2617, Centroid Longitude: -80.0700, depth 2 to 5 m)

-Margarita Island, Limon Bay (USNM E 4873)

-Portobelo (USNM E 4805; Centroid Latitude: 9.55, Centroid Longitude: -79.62)

-Mangote Island, Buenaventura Bay (USNM 1011707; Centroid Latitude: 9.5431, Centroid Longitude: -79.6808)

-Pico Feo Island, San Blas (USNM E 18807, USNM E 18615; associated with Thalassia spp.)

-Miria Island, San Blas (USNM E 25676)

-Corgetupo Island, San Blas (USNM 1017376)

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References and links

provided by Echinoderms of Panama

Mortensen, T. (1943). A monograph of the Echinoidea 3(2). Camarodonta 1. Copenhagen. 553 pp., 321 figures, 56 pls; pages: 490-408.

Zigler, K. S. & Lessios, H. A. (2003). Evolution of bindin in the pantropical sea urchin Tripneustes: Comparisons to bindin of other genera. Molecular Biology and Evolution 20:220-231.

GenBank

The Echinoid Directory

World Echinoidea Database

LSID urn:lsid:marinespecies.org:taxname:422490
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Synonymised taxa

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Echinus ventricosus Lamarck, 1816 (transferred to Tripneustes)
Heliechinus gouldii Girard, 1850 (subjective junior synonym)
Hipponoe esculenta A. Agassiz, 1872 (subjective junior synonym)
Tripneustes esculenta (A. Agassiz, 1872) (subjective junior synonym)
Tripneustes esculentus (A. Agassiz, 1872) (subjective junior synonym)

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Comprehensive Description

provided by Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology
Tripneustes ventricosus (Lamarck)

Echinus ventricosus Lamarck, 1816:44. [For synonymy, see Mortensen, 1943a:490. Lewis, 1958; Moore, Jutare, Jones, McPherson, and Roper, 1963; Kier and Grant, 1965; and McPherson, 1965, describe aspects of the biology of this species.]

This echinoid was found both on the reef and in the lagoon, but it is rare in both environments. One large specimen was seen eating algae on the boulders in the Patch Reef Zone on the transect. One specimen was under the pier on the lagoon side of Carrie Bow Cay. Several other specimens were in the Thalassia beds east of Water Cay Range, where they were eating the Thalassia.
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Kier, Porter M. 1975. "The echinoids of Carrie Bow Cay, Belize." Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology. 1-45. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.00810282.206

Tripneustes ventricosus

provided by wikipedia EN

Tripneustes ventricosus, commonly called the West Indian sea egg or white sea urchin, is a species of sea urchin. It is common in the Caribbean Sea, the Bahamas and Florida and may be found at depths of less than 10 metres (33 ft).

Description

The test of the West Indian sea egg is dark in color, usually black, dark purple or reddish brown, with white spines 1 to 2 centimetres (0.39 to 0.79 inches) long. The test can reach 10 to 15 centimetres (3.9 to 5.9 in) in diameter. It is often covered with pieces of seagrass, fragments of shell and other debris in a manner similar to the closely related Tripneustes gratilla.[2] These decorations are held in place by tube feet among the spines and are believed to provide protection from the intense sunlight that penetrates the shallow water.[3]

Distribution and habitat

Small West Indian sea egg found in the ocean in San Juan, Puerto Rico

The West Indian sea egg is found in shallow parts of the western Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Its range extends from Bermuda, the Carolinas and Florida to Belize, Venezuela and Brazil and also includes the west coast of Africa and Ascension Island.[4] It seldom occurs in water deeper than 10 metres (33 ft). It is found in seagrass meadows, in rubble areas and on shallow rocky reefs. Young sea urchins conceal themselves in crevices and under rocks during the day but larger individuals stay out in the open.[3]

Biology

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Large specimen next to a shrimp mound, Grahams Harbor, San Salvador Island, Bahamas

The West Indian sea egg feeds on algae but tends to avoid the crustose, highly calcified coralline algae.[3]

Ripe gonads were found in urchins at any time of year but breeding probably takes place mostly in the summer. Male and female urchins liberate gametes into the sea where fertilisation takes place. The eggs soon hatch into larvae which are planktonic. These develop through a number of larval stages over the course of about one month before settling on the seabed and undergoing metamorphosis into juveniles. Young urchin recruits in Barbados are thought to have originated off the coast of South America. Various bottom feeding fish feed on the young sea urchins. In Jamaica, the queen triggerfish, (Balistes vetula), is the main predator.[5] During their first year, young urchins increased their diameter by about 7 millimetres (0.28 in) a month. Growth slowed thereafter and halted completely after maturity was reached while the gonads were ripening. After liberation of the gametes, growth restarted.[4]

Uses

The gonads of the West Indian sea egg are traditionally consumed in the West Indies and there is an important fishery in Barbados. Urchins are collected by skin diving and it used to be possible to collect a thousand in a few hours. In order to conserve stocks, a closed period was introduced during the breeding season (May to August) during which no sea urchins were allowed to be taken. Despite this, sea urchin numbers have declined during the late twentieth century and they are now uncommon and the fishery non-viable. The cause of this population collapse is thought to be overfishing, though pollution and disease may have played a part. The sea urchins have become rare in the most easily fished locations and are still common in more remote places.[5] Attempts are being made to raise urchin larvae in the laboratory and restock depleted areas.[5]

References

  1. ^ Kroh, Andreas (2012). "Tripneustes ventricosus (Lamarck, 1816)". WoRMS. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 2012-10-23.
  2. ^ Humann, Paul, Reef Creature Identification, Edited by Ned Deloach. New World Publications, Inc., 1992, p. 292-293.
  3. ^ a b c Colin, Patrick L. (1978). Marine Invertebrates and Plants of the Living Reef. T.F.H. Publications. p. 419. ISBN 0-86622-875-6.
  4. ^ a b McPherson, B.F. (1965). "Contributions to the Biology of the Sea Urchin Tripneustes ventricosus" (PDF). Bulletin of Marine Science. 15 (1): 228–244.
  5. ^ a b c Scheibling, Robert E.; Mladenov, Philip B. (1987). "The Decline of the Sea Urchin, Tripneustes ventricosus, Fishery of Barbados: A Survey of Fishermen and Consumers" (PDF). Report to Fisheries Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Consumer Affairs, Barbados. Retrieved 2012-10-23.

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Tripneustes ventricosus: Brief Summary

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Tripneustes ventricosus, commonly called the West Indian sea egg or white sea urchin, is a species of sea urchin. It is common in the Caribbean Sea, the Bahamas and Florida and may be found at depths of less than 10 metres (33 ft).

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