Tripneustes gratilla elatensis Dafni 1983 (deformed)

Family: Toxopneustidae

Order: Echinoida

Locality: Egypt, Red Sea near Safaga, 1 m, rocky ground, 2013

Dimensions: 61Ø x 26 mm

The test has a deeply sunken apical area. For further information see

Jacob Dafni
15. Diversity and Recent Changes in the Echinoderm Fauna of the Gulf of Aqaba with Emphasis on the Regular Echinoids, Page 242, Fig. 8B, Issued by Magnes Press Jerusalem, 2008

Dr. Dafni ´s Home Page (, Chapter "Deformities of sea -urchin under pollution conditions"

Jacob Dafni, Echinoderms, Strange is their middle name, 2008

A very comprehensive booklet on Tripneustes gratilla elatensis and pollutions leading to deformed tests. You may download it from for a small fee (online reading is possible without any charge).

I saw during snorkeling in shallow water some hundreds or even thousands of Tripneustes gratilla elatensis but only very few, which were deformed as shown above. Perhaps the Gulf of Aqaba, where Dr. Dafni found a higher percentage, is much more polluted than the Egyptian west coast of the Red Sea.