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Research Technical Report

Northward Range Extension of the Crowned Sea Urchin (Centrostephanus coronatus) to Monterey Bay, California

Freiwald, J., C.J. Wisniewski, and D. Abbott (Spring 2016)

California Fish and Game 102(2):37-40


A crowned sea urchin, (Centrostephanus coronatus) was seen and documented on 12 April 2016 on rocky reef substrate in the kelp forest near the Monterey breakwater in Monterey Bay, California (36° 36.63’ N, 121° 53.66’ W) by the first author during a scuba dive. This observation represents a northward range extension of about 330 kilometers from the previously reported northernmost occurrence of this species at the northern Channel Islands, California (Engle and Richards 2001; Pearse 1972). This subtropical species has a reported distribution from the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) in the south to the northern Channel Islands (California, USA) in the north (Gotshall 2005). The specimen was photographed and its test diameter was estimated to be about 4 centimeters (Figure 1). Its identification as Centrostephanus coronatus was confirmed by the co-authors based on photographs. There is no other known, almost black species of sea urchin in California waters with the characteristic blue around the base of the spines (R. Mooi, California Academy of Sciences, personal communication).