Hatpin urchin

© H. Thedy


The hatpin urchin has many long spines that can measure more than 10 centimetres long! It lives between 15 and 200 meters deep in cavities and cracks in rocks and sometimes in neptune grass meadows. It moves at night to search for food (sponge debris, algae, etc.) that it scrapes from rock surfaces. When it feels threatened it spines stand on end and it directs these towards the danger moving them quickly.

Scientific name

Centrostephanus longispinus

Natural habitats

  • Coralligenous structures
  • Rocky seabeds
  • Underwater caves

Did you know?

The spines of this urchin are very fine and can break. They easily penetrate a predator’s flesh, even a diver’s, where they break and cause severe pain.

Conservation stake



  • Changes to its environment
  • Pollution
  • Accidentally caught by fishing boats
  • Collection by divers

Conservation management initiatives

It is a protected species the collection of which is prohibited.

How can I help to protect it?

  • I use environment-friendly mooring techniques to limit the impact of anchoring
  • In the case of anchoring out at sea, I only anchor in areas where marine habitats are not fragile and raise the anchor vertically
  • I do not disturb marine wildlife.I look but I don’t touch!
  • I avoid contact with the seabed and with sloping faces
  • I avoid repeated and long visits to caves
  • I report any unusual environmental incidents
  • I recover waste and dispose of it in suitable bins on land
  • I do not gather souvenirs from the sea
  • I share this best practice with other seafarers and raise their awareness.