Seasonal growth of the purple sea urchin heliocidaris crassispina revealed by sequential fluorochrome tagging

Juan Diego Urriago Suarez, Jane C.Y. Wong, Gilbert Lui, Clement P. Dumont, Jian Wen Qiu, Monthon Ganmanee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Many studies have applied fluorochrome tagging to examine the growth of animals with calcified skeletons, but most of them have used only a single tag to determine the annual growth rate. We used sequential fluorochrome tagging to study the seasonal growth of the purple sea urchin Heliocidaris crassispina in Hong Kong waters from February 2012 to February 2013. Sea urchins ranging from 18.9 to 42.7 mm in test diameter had a yearly growth from 0.6 to 13.0 mm. During that year, the sea urchins grew from 0.6 to 5.0 mm in test diameter during the first six months, and from 0.4 to 10.2 mm in test diameter in the second six months. The seasonal differences in growth were confirmed using the von Bertalanffy model. The growth was clear for young sea urchins, especially for individuals less than 5 years old, but was not evident for sea urchins older than 7 years. The seasonal differences in growth were probably related to the reproductive cycle and the seasonal differences in environmental conditions. Our empirical results provide the first evidence of seasonal changes in growth for H. crassispina, demonstrating the usefulness of sequential fluorochrome tagging in studying the growth of sea urchins in the field. We also identify the problem of low recovery of tagged individuals and provide recommendations to improve the tagging procedure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number38
JournalZoological Studies
Early online date13 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Calcein
  • Calcein blue
  • Fluorochrome
  • Sea urchin
  • Seasonal growth model
  • Tagging


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