There are 950 species of sea urchins living on seabeds, making them one of the most widespread and common echinoderms in our oceans. They’re often called the “porcupines of the sea” because of their long spines that deter hungry predators. However, the marine animals are also prone to covering themselves with stones, shells, rocks—and even tiny hats.
Biologist Morgan Kester recently shared this discovery on social media. She writes, “I was today years old when I learned that sea urchins naturally use shells as hats for camouflage, so some aquarists had the genius idea to make them tiny hats.” She posted photos of the dapper-looking sea urchins “wearing” 3D-printed cowboy hats, top hats, and fedoras. The sea urchins not only look stylish, but the hats also help to keep them safe. Although the exact reason for covering their “heads” is unknown, it’s been theorized that the extra weight helps prevent the sea creatures from being washed away during storms. The extra coverage is also thought to protect sea urchins from predators and UV rays.
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