Please visit our Sponsors
Related FAQs: Fishes of Hawai'i, Articles on: The Best Butterflyfishes of Hawai'i, Triggerfishes of Hawai'i

Related Articles: A Fishwatcher's Guide to the Marine Aquarium Fishes of Hawai'i, Introduction to Fishwatcher's Guide Series Pieces/Sections, Scott's Trip to Maui/Hawai'i,  Holualoa property

A Fishwatcher's Guide to the Marine Invertebrates of Hawai'i

Part 4 of 4, To: Part 3, Part 2, Part 1

Bob Fenner

Anthelia edmondsonii, the most common of the few soft corals found in Hawai'i


Sea Urchins:

Brissus latecarcinatus (test) Leske 1778, the Keeled Heart Urchin. When live this urchin lives barely under the sand and is covered with short brownish to pinkish spines. Hawai'i pix of upper and obverse tests (exoskeletons), showing the crescent mouth opening and anus at the other end.   

Chondrocidaris gigantea, A. Agassiz 1863, the Rough-Spined Urchin. Dark Larger outer spines covered with fouling organisms (algae, sponges, bryozoans...). Relatively short, secondary spines are clean. Hawai'i and New Caledonia at depths of usually 30 meters plus. Hawai'i pix.  

Colobocentrotus altratus (Linnaeus 1758), the Shield Urchin. Indo-Pacific; scattered from Africa to Hawai'i. Intertidal to six feet of depth. Eats algae in the surf/surge zone. Here above the water mark off of Kailua, Kona (Hawai'i's Big Island) airport coast. 

Diadema paucispinum (A. Agassiz 1863), a Long-Spined Sea Urchin. Pacific; Hawai'i and islands of the South Pacific. To about twelve inches maximum diameter, with spines. Usually in 60 or more feet of water on a vertical surface. Common name means "few spines" which you may not agree with if you get poked but good. Kona pix.  

Echinothrix calamaris (Pallas 1774), the Hatpin Urchin. Indo-Pacific; Red Sea to Hawai'i. Should be kept singly and may prey on cnidarian livestock. Need large spaces in rock to hide amongst by day and coarse substrate. Cebu, Philippines and Hawai'i images. 

Heterocentrotus mammillatus (Linnaeus 1758), the (Red) Pencil Urchin. Indo-Pacific; Red Sea to Hawai'i. Nocturnal, hiding in crevices by day in depths to thirty feet, emerging at night to rasp rocks. To one foot overall diameter. Hawai'i picture. 

Tripneustes gratilla (Linnaeus 1758), the Priest-Hat or Collector Urchin. Family Toxopneustidae. Indo-Pacific; Red Sea to Hawai'i. Toxic to the touch to sea life. To about five inches in diameter overall. Mentioned so hobbyists will avoid it. Shown: At right in Hawai'i.

Sea Cucumbers:

Actinopyga mauritiana (Quoy & Gaimard 1833), the White-Spotted Sea Cucumber, loli (Hawaiian). Frequently found in surgy, seaward, shallow water settings, holding on firmly to the rocky substrate with their tube feet. To twelve inches. Hawai'i pic. 

Holothuria atra Jager 1833, the Black Sea Cucumber. Indo-Pacific; Red Sea to Hawai'i. Detritivore often found in shallows, close to shore. General detritivore. To two feet in length. This one in Hawai'i.

Holothuria edulis Lesson 1830, the Edible Sea Cucumber.  Indo-Pacific including Hawai'i. Skin soft, pink underneath, blackish above. Found in shallows, close to shore. General detritivore. To eight inches in length. One in Fiji, another in captivity. Edible but not considered delicious. 

Holothuria hilla Lesson 1830, the Light-Spotted Sea Cucumber. Found partly exposed at night times in rocky and sandy settings. Indo-Pacific. Hawai'i pic. 

Holothuria whitmaei Bell 1887, the Teated Sea Cucumber. Indo-Pacific. To one foot plus. Hard black bodied with light sand coating stuck to the outside. Called the "Mammy Fish" for its nipple-like "feet". Prized for the consumption of the outer body-wall as "beche de mer". This "loli" in Hawaii.

Stichopus chloronotus Brandt 1835, the Black Sea Cucumber. Indo-West Pacific; eastern Africa to Hawai'i and the South Pacific. Useful for reef aquariums when small. To one foot in length. One in Roratonga, Cook Islands, where it's contents are often consumed as "rori" and another off of Hawaii's Big Island.

Sea Stars:  

Acanthaster planci, the Crown of Thorns Star. The Triton Snail, Charonia tritonis is about the only predator of this coral eater in Hawai'i.  To about a foot and a half across... and venomous! Do not touch. Here in Hawai'i, moving and eating.

Culcita novaeguineae Mullet & Troschel 1842, the Bun Starfish, Pincushion Star. Eastern Indian Ocean, Western Pacific. To a foot in diameter. Though seemingly sessile, this animal requires large quarters with plenty of open space, and feeding of bivalves, snails, fish meat, tablets... and may eat your corals!  Images made in Hawai'i.  

Leiaster glaber Peters 1852, the Red Velvet Star. Slender arms, irregular red blotching, small central disc. To about 8 inches across. Indo-Pacific including eastern Pacific. Nocturnal, unlike the similar Linckia guildingi of similar coloring and markings. Here in Hawai'i.

Linckia guildingi Gray 1840, the Green Linckia. Usually with five (sometimes 4 or 6) arms that are cylindrical in cross section. Skin appears smooth but is coarse with low, hard nodules. Though called "green" occurs in other colors (tan, beige, brown, blue, reddish). Big Island Hawaii pix. 

Mithrodia fisheri Holly 1932, Fisher's Star. Body covered with large bumps. Color variable; from white to cinnamon, generally with dark banding on roundish arms that have a lateral row of blunt spines. Feeds on sponges, bryozoans, other sessile invertebrates. Most about 4-6 inches in diameter though attains at least a foot. Daytime and nocturnal. Kona pix. 

Ophidiaster hemprichii Muller & Troschel 1842, Hemprich's Star.  Legs round in cross section, of variable color, usually reddish brown, with grey blotches. Body made over with nine rows of articulating plates. To four inches overall. Tropical Pacific.


Ophiocoma erinaceus Muller & Troschel 1842, the Spiny Brittle Star. Indo-Pacific. To 5.5 inches in diameter. Dark by day, grayish bands by night. Found in association with living corals. Hawai'i' pic at night. 

Ascidians/Sea Squirts:

Ascidea sydneiensis Stimpson 1855. Yellow-Green Sea Squirt. Solitary urn-shaped zooids of up to four inches in height. Large and few oral siphons. Variable in color. Worldwide in tropical seas. Hawai'i pic. 

To: Part 3, Part 2, Part 1

Bibliography/Further Information:

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: