Tripneustes gratilla

Sea lamington
Tripneustes gratilla
Tripneustes gratilla, Sydney, NSW, Photo: John Turnbull
Tripneustes gratilla
Tripneustes gratilla, Easter Island, Photo: Graham Edgar
Tripneustes gratilla
Tripneustes gratilla, Solitary Is, NSW, Photo: Andrew Green
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Tripneustes gratilla
Tripneustes gratilla
Tripneustes gratilla


Temperate Australasia, Tropical Indo-Pacific


Test that can vary in colour between orange and dark purple, and primary spines that are white and sometimes tipped with orange. The relative size of the spines and their arrangement are nevertheless characteristic of the species. The test is often partly covered by shell and algal fragments, which are held in place by the characteristically banded tube feet. In some years the species is abundant in Sydney Harbour, but in other years it is rare, probably because of variation in the survival of larvae drifting south.

Read more about identifying this species HERE


Max Size: 15 cm

Sea Temperature Range: 17.8-28.2°C

Depth: 0–75 m

Habitat Generalization Index: N/A

Also referred to as the SGI (Species Generalisation Index), this describes the habitat niche breadth of the species. Species with values less than 15 are found in a relatively narrow range of reef habitat types (specialists), while those over 25 may be found on most hard substrates within their range (generalists). Learn more here.

Conservation and Rarity

IUCN Status: Not Evaluated

Occurrence: Infrequent (7.3% of sites)

Occurrence describes how often the species is found on surveys within its distribution. It is calculated as the % of reef sites surveyed by RLS divers across all the ecoregions in which the species has been observed

Abundance: Many (15 per transect)

Abundance is calculated as the average number of individuals recorded per RLS transect, where present.

Edit by: GJ Edgar. 2008. Australian Marine Life. New Holland, Sydney