A trip to the beach provided the opportunity to learn some of the species of sea urchins. This is less science and more curiosity. 4 to 5 species of sea urchins were found in a small area of ocean near a coral island (kalang). Pictured below are tayum, singaling, mamuhuk, and tehe’-tehe’:
Different sources have different opinions on which are edible. I originally was led to believe that tehe’-tehe’ is the only edible of the five, only to find that sources from a different community prefer the taste of tayum over tehe’-tehe’. I’ve heard that mamuhuk is also edible, but I was told that Sama prefer the other varieties. The Sinama-English dictionary that will soon be published states that singaling is also edible but has “poor flavor”. Of course it makes a difference if you eat them raw or cooked. If you want to make oko’-oko’ as demonstrated in this video link, you will need to find larger tehe’-tehe’ to do it and I’m told that the sea urchins have more meat at the time of the full moon (damlag). This is fortunate since it is harder to catch fish at night time with the full moon out since they are no longer attracted to the fishermen’s lights.
This picture and the identified species along with scientific names is as accurate as I can make it after a one day swimming trip and a quick consultation with google and google images. It is possible that the species pictured are not those they are labeled with, but I can say pretty certainly that they at least belong to the same genus as identified and most likely the same family.
The act of gathering shellfish (panagatun) and other edible creatures at low-tide is called an’bba in Sinama and sea-side foraging in English. Teachers with classes that have even just a few Sama children could ask the help of their parents to go on a sea-side foraging field trip. It would make quite the unique and exciting science lesson.