|Image: Patrick Randall|
|Image: Patrick Randall|
And by OF DOOM I mean, er, OF DOOM, actually.
|Image: Liam O'Brien|
It's just a void! A jagged void... OF DOOM
No wonder they look like something that could kill the Super Mario Brothers with a single touch!
|Image: Sean Nash|
A diadem is a kind of jewelled headband worn by monarchs, royals and other fancy-schmancy types. It's a tiara, basically, except macho men can wear it, too. But who would want to put a Long-spined Sea Urchin on their head? Surely it can only be the Dark Statue of Liberty OF DOOM, Goddess of the Black Sun. Well, it's there when she wants it.
The fact that these Sea Urchins hurt shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Sure, they lack the bright colours and hissing threat displays we usually associate with venomous creatures, but they look like a sinister, three dimensional shadow. Which is somehow worse. The monster isn't in the dark. The monster is the dark.
|Image: GRID Arendal|
Huddling together for comfort. Because that works, somehow
It seems to work out very well for them. There may be just eight species, but they're found in shallow, tropical waters all the world. Some of them are common throughout the Indo-Pacific, others are found in West Africa, and they can also be found in both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the Americas.
Video: Pei Yan Heng
Diadema Sea Urchins are nocturnal, spending the day hidden in crevices among rocks and coral. They try to, anyway. It's not easy to hide when you're covered in foot long spikes. They mostly eat algae which the scrape off of rocks but they can also eat detritus and the like if they need to.
Long-spined Sea Urchins aren't always black. Youngsters often have stripy spines and there are many of individuals who might be purple, grey or even white.
|Image: Simon Coppard|
|Image: Enrique Dans|
And then there's that tearaway rebel, D. palmeri, who is a vibrant red.
|Image: Richard Ling|
It's a bit suspicious. If anyone really did manage to provide pain itself a disembodied, physical existence of its own, you know that Tesla coils would be involved.
|Image: Massimiliano Finzi|
You don't get bright blues like that from mere patches of colour. They're actually iridophores, which are crystalline plates that reflect light at particular wavelengths to give off that iridescent effect. They're practically jewels! This, perhaps, is the diadem from which they get their scientific name.
Despite appearances, it's not an eyeball. Thank goodness! Maybe it's a symbolic eyeball, signifying the wisdom of the ruler?
|Image: Chaloklum Diving|
Maybe it's just a tiny pot that gets packed full of incense so the monarch can smell nice during those all-important royal functions?
Yup. It's the anus. I guess even creatures of nightmare need to use the bathroom.