Spines of Urchin

What a Cute Ball of Urchin Spines?!?

Spines of Urchin is a photograph of the intimidating sea urchin.   These brainless animals crawl slowly upon the ocean floor looking for food.  No, I’m not being cruel to these cute balls of spines.   They really have no brains.   They also do not have ears, or eyes and their mouth is on the bottom.


Spines of Urchin
The flat disk on the spines are feet!

These unique creatures roam the seabed looking for algae or kelp to munch on using light-sensitive cells in their spines. At first glance, you might not see how these amazing creatures travel up sheer rock walls or even the sides of holding tanks.  The secret is in their spines.  If you look at Spines of Urchin closely you’ll see that some of the spines end in points, and some end in a flat suction like disc.   These discs are their feet.  They not only use the feet for travel and suction but also to pick up pieces of food and move it towards their mouths. I’d imagine being a sea urchin would be a strange existence.


Up to now, this has to be one of the strangest animals that I’ve ever eaten.  You read that right.  They are edible!  In fact, the roe of a sea urchin is a supreme delicacy sought by chefs all over the world.  The hard part is getting past the spines.

You find this delicacy in various cuisines around the world.  Eaten everywhere from Maine to California, they are even served in various pasta sauces in Italy.  But the biggest appetite of sea urchin belongs to the Japanese.  Indeed, it was at a Japanese restaurant that I had my first experience with this strange dish.


It tastes like a strange salty version of codfish that seems to melt in your mouth.  It was quite pleasant, and I’d readily eat it again.  However, before you order up a big plate of these little tapas, you might want to try it first. While I enjoyed it, there are many people who do not.  This is one of those experiences where you either love it or hate it.


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