Book your bus hereBook your taxi hereBook your train tickets hereBook your flight hereBook your ferry here
Tioman Ferry TicketsHaz clic aquí para españolClicca qui per l'italianoKlicken Sie hier für DeutschTioman Ferry TicketsKlik di sini untuk MelayuCliquez ici pour le français Klik hier voor NederlandsClick here for EnglishClick here for ArabicClick here for Russian 한국어는 여기를 클릭하십시오Clique aqui para português

Sea urchins in Tioman

Home / Tickets / Update* / Blog

Many people consider sea urchins a pest. However, this is too narrow-minded a view. In fact, sea urchins have an important role to play in the ecosystem. One of sea urchins' main duties includes ingesting decaying dead animal and plant matter, as well as algae. This is why sea urchins are called the gardeners of the reef.

Without sea urchins cleaning-up our coral gardens, the amount of dead matter would soon cause algae and bacteria to explode to deleterious levels. This would, in turn, negatively affect the general health of the system.

Watch out for the spines of these sea urchins
Watch out for the spines of these sea urchins

In other words, the presence of sea urchins ensures a healthy balance within the delicate interconnected web of organisms that makes up the coral reef community. This is especially important around Tioman, because, traditionally, the nutrient level in the sea water here is particularly high.

In addition, sea urchins also provide shelter from predators to smaller vertebrates and invertebrates during the juvenile phase of their life, allowing these creatures to mature to reproductive age - another way sea urchins maintain a healthy balance within coral reef systems.

Please help protect our coral gardens - do not buy these dried sea urchins as souvenirs
Please help protect our coral gardens - do not
buy these dried sea urchins as souvenirs

That being said, the problem occurs when nutrient levels in the sea get out of hand. This sets off so-called algal blooms, i.e. algae populations reaching scourge proportions. Usually, when this happens, it doesn't take long for the sea urchin population to catch up with their food source profusion. A sea urchin plague is the result. This is why in some years, 2010 being the last year this happened, you may see the sea floor in some areas around Tioman being covered by numerous sea urchins.

Not all sea urchins are necessarily dangerous
Not all sea urchins are necessarily dangerous

Fortunately, this is a self-correcting situation, because the sea urchins' abundant food source is soon mopped up by the profusion of sea urchins, which then leads to the sea urchin population collapsing back to normal levels shortly after.

Sea urchin a.k.a. sea hedgehog
Sea urchin a.k.a. sea hedgehog

In conclusion, the health of a coral reef system is all about balance. This is why it's of utmost importance that we do not wantonly eliminate sea urchins from the ecosystem, whether for food or to serve the misconception amongst some of the diving community that sea urchins feed on coral.

See our recommendations for sea urchin first aid
Sea urchins form an integral part of
the coral gardens around Tioman

Sea urchins have enough natural predators, such as sea otters, snails, crabs and fish to generally keep their numbers in check. Should the sea urchin population reach excessive proportions, just remember that this situation will be relatively short-lived; their numbers will soon return to normal.

In the meantime, tread carefully.

Sea urchins come in all sorts, sizes and colours and are, in fact, quite a draw for scuba divers. If you'd like to see sea urchins up close in their natural habitat, then use below form for more information about doing a scuba diving course.

    m   f: 
Your inquiry / question:

Mersing Harbour Centre

This is where you collect the ferry tickets you booked online. The complex also has a great food and drinks section, as well as a decent number of cool shops for some last-minute retail therapy, before hopping onto your ferry. Find out more...

Tioman Spa

Pulau Tioman offers several Spa and Wellness Centres that you should give a try. You can select the type of treatment you want from this website, as it lists each of Tioman's resorts and hotels that feature Spa therapies. Find out more...

Tioman Honeymoon

Tying the knot in the not too distant future and looking for an exotic paradise to immerse in newlywed bliss? Take a look at this site. It presents each of Tioman Island's resorts that offer delectable honeymoon packages. Find out more...

*Twitter updates
Whilst we spare no effort, due to the nature of sea travel, we're unable to guarantee that we can always send out alerts in time.
On the go? Eureka Snacks : )

Question about Tioman? Mersing? The ferry?

Contact Us