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Gallery: Sea Urchins
Tanya Lewis, LiveScience Staff Writer | April 08, 2013 03:00pm ET
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Credit: Jackie Sones
Purple urchins, or Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, live in tidepools along the West Coast of North America.
Credit: Claire Fackler, NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries
The urchin's spines help it skewer food and protect itself against predators.
Spawning female urchin
Credit: Dan Griffin
The urchins breed annually around January, February and March.
Credit: Elizabeth Lenz
The urchins start out as free-floating larvae that may swim and feed for several months.
Credit: Eric Sanford
Urchins undergo metamorphosis from a larval form to an adult form.
Credit: Andreas Heyland
Sea urchin larvae turn inside-out as the larvae metamorphose to adults.
Sea urchin genome
Credit: Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory
Scientists recently sequenced the genome of the purple sea urchin.
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