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Loxechinus albus:   (click for more)

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FAO Names
En - Chilean sea urchin, Fr - Oursin chilien, Sp - Erizo blanco.
3Alpha Code: UCH     Taxonomic Code: 6930401701
Scientific Name with Original Description
Echinus albus  Molina, 1782. Saggio sulla Storia Naturale de Cili.
Diagnostic Features
Six-eleven ambulacral plates, geminated, each one with a primary tubercle. Dicyclic apical system. Numerous large periproctal plates.  Central anus. Primary spines short in adults, conical: secondary spines very numerous. Pedicelaries globiferous with a neck between stem and head, with large valves, variable number of lateral teeth, one-four per side.  Hemispherical test, greenish, occasionally with red ambulacres and interambulacres (large specimens from deep waters can be white, partially or completely). 
Geographical Distribution
From Ecuador (6° S) to Magellan Region, Isla de los Estados (55 ° S).
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Habitat and Biology
Littoral, intertidal and subtidal pools. Up to 340 m in depth (Larrain 1975). This species feeds both at day and night mostly on drifting algal pieces captured with the aboral pedia. Small specimens (<3 cm) consume significantly more benthic than floating algae pieces (Contreras & Castilla, 1987)
Timing and duration of spawning period is variable among adjacent areas and along the Chilean coast. Spawning period occurs later in the year as latitude increases: June (23° S), November-December in Chiloé, 45° S (Zamora & Stotz 1992). An exception are populations inhabiting the Magellan Region ( 53° S) since their spawning period lasts from July to September (Oyarzún et al. 1999). 
Up to more than 100 mm of testa diameter.
Interest to Fisheries
45.560 T and 44.843 T were landed in Chilean harbours in 1997 and 1998, respectively (Sernapesca 1998, Sernapesca 1999).
Edible species in Chile and Perú. The specimens reach commercial size after 8 years.

The industrial catches for canned gonads has caused the extinction of many local populations.
Contreras, S. & Castilla, J.C. - 1987. Feeding behavior and morphological adaptations in two sympatric sea urchin species in central Chile. Marine Ecology Progress Series. .  38:217-224..
Larrain, A. - 1975. Los equinoideos regulares fósiles y recientes de Chile. Gayana (Zool.) .  35: 1-189..
Oyarzún, S.T., S.L. Marín, C. Valladares & J.L. iriarte - 1999. Reproductive cycle of Loxechinus albus (Echinodermata: Echinoidea) in two areas of the Magellan Region (53ºS, 70-72ºW), Chile. Scientia Marina. .  63 (Suppl. 1): 439-449..
Sernapesca - 1998. Anuario Estadístico de Pesca 1997 Servicio Nacional de Pesca. Ministerio de Economía, Fomento y Reconstrucción de Chile, Valparaíso
Zamora, S. & W. Stotz - 1993. Ciclo reproductivo de Loxechinus albus (Molina, 1782) (Echinodermata, Echinoidea) en Punta lagunillas, IV Región, Coquimbo, Chile. Revista Chilena de Historia Natural. .  65: 121-133..
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