I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nature Journal - Purple Sea Urchins

On our trip to Cayo Costa, last week, we found dozens of (dead) sea urchins strewn all over one section of the beach.  We brought home a few to add to our collection of shells and other beach finds and to learn more about them.  We wondered why so many would be washed up to shore, most of them with all their spines but some without.  They look like works of sea art.

We learned that the sea urchin have been categorized in a Phylum called Equinodermata, which means spiny skins.  They are grazers and like to eat algae.  They aren't very sophisticated animals though, as they don't have a brain at all.

In Japan, sea urchin roe, which they call 'uni', is considered a delicacy and costs over $200/lb.!  It turns out that California exports tons of sea urchin roe to Japan.  Who knew? 

All this was an opportunity to discuss a little geography to see where Japan is on the globe and how long it would take to fly a case full of sea urchin roe over there.

xsea urchins

Emily focused on what the sea urchins like to eat and who likes to eat them... I'm wondering if she was hungry when she wrote that.  Also, see the little fish with the sad face?  I think she was the little fish and that was her view of the waves!  She was, true to her personality, very cautious about those waves and swimming in general.


We also watched this wonderful BBC video showing an army of sea urchins mounting its attack on the kelp forest off the coast of California.


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3 comments:

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