Sea Potato

Echinocardium cordatum


Also known as the 'Heart Urchin' due to its distinctive shape, this medium-sized sea-urchin is densely covered in fine, beige spines, giving it a hairy appearance. The Sea Potato lives buried in up to 15cm of muddy and sandy sediments from the shore to 200 metres deep.

How to identify

The familiar, spine-less, pale brown 'test' (shell) of the dead animal is often washed up on the shore. It is recognisable by the heart shape, dull colour and thin, brittle shell. The animal itself is covered in dense spines and yellow-brown in colour.

Where to find it

Found on sandy and muddy shores all round our coasts.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Sea-urchins and starfish provide a vital link in the food chain for many of our rarer species. Our seas and coastline are in need of protection if we are to keep our marine wildlife healthy. The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. This work has recently had a massive boost with the passing of the Marine Bill, promising sustainable development of the UK's marine environment. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Sea Potato
Latin name
Echinocardium cordatum
Urchins and starfish
Diameter: up to 9cm
Conservation status