Vanuatu Pencil Urchin

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Image: David Lane, University of Brunei.

My friends at National Geographic have provided permission for me to share some of the images from the recent discovery of a huge number of new species on and around the south Pacific island of Vanuatu.

Tiny Tropical Island Yields a Wealth of Species

The thick, solid spines of a pencil sea urchin jut out like the writing instruments that lend this creature its name.

These nocturnal animals hide in coral reef cavities during the day and crawl out after dark to forage for food.

Found in the Pacific and Indian oceans, pencil urchins are popular in the aquarium trade because they fare well in captivity. Their sturdy spines are sometimes used for making mounts for jewelry.

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