Check out what we found on our dusk dive today at the La Jolla Shores…
Can you guess what it is?
Hint: It’s an echinoderm
The creature is actually called a ‘heart urchin,’ or Lovenia cordiformis for short. Though not uncommon, these guys spend most of their time buried below the surface of the sand generally around 30-40 feet. They’re specialized long and short spines are used like shovels to dig or move around.
They have a band of tiny spines (called the fasciole) which creates a circulating ‘bubble’ of water while they are buried, and secretes a layer of mucus which slightly hardens they’re underground abode. This keeps a steady flow of both nutrients and oxygen passing over the aptly shaped heart urchin.