Somewhat rare, Coleman shrimp are normally found in pairs on the toxic fire sea urchin. The female is the larger of the two, Coleman shrimp move among the poisonous spines with impunity. They were named after the late, great, Australian diving legend, Neville Coleman.
The blue/white tips of this toxic fire urchin’s (Asthenosoma varium) spines are filled with a venom that can cause a very painful and long-lasting sting. It inhabits the tropical Indo-Pacific region and can reach 25 centimetres in diameter. Some claim it is similar to a great electric shock followed by an excruciating burn. My wife, Kathryn, can speak to as she got stung by a fire urchin on her thigh by one of these urchins last week while I was photographing the one pictured here in Anilao, Philippines. The 10 or so spines that broke off under her skin are slowly working their way out. Despite the the urchin wound, It did not prevent her from diving or enjoying rum infused mango shakes apres dives.