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Feeling Prickly (67) More files...
Prickly spines, quills and spikes are striking and effective adaptations for fending off predators. Not only do they walk the walk, projecting a tough back-off attitude, but they bring the pain to unwise attackers. Some animals, like the scorpionfish, use their spines to inject venom into predators thereby increasing the chance of escape.

When we think of prickly characters, porcupines, hedgehogs and sea urchins come immediately to mind. But let's give the unsung spiky species their due. Ants, echidnas, katydids, caterpillars, spiders and more are all armored for life in the wild. Look, but don't touch this fun gallery of images.
Short-beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus), Australia  -  Luc Hoogenstein/ Buiten-beeld
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00513750 Short-beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus), Australia© Luc Hoogenstein/ Buiten-beeld
Katydid (Panacanthus cuspidatus), Yasuni National Park, Ecuador
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00642958 Katydid (Panacanthus cuspidatus), Yasuni National Park, Ecuador© Ch'ien Lee
Porcupinefish (Diodon nicthemerus) in defensive posture, Port Phillip Bay, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia
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00586666 Porcupinefish (Diodon nicthemerus) in defensive posture, Port Phillip Bay, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia© Gary Bell/ Oceanwide
Thorny Seahorse (Hippocampus histrix), Great Barrier Reef, Australia
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00586888 Thorny Seahorse (Hippocampus histrix), Great Barrier Reef, Australia© Gary Bell/ Oceanwide
Cup Moth (Limacodidae) caterpillar with spines that can deliver an extremely painful sting, Virachey National Park, Cambodia  -  Piotr Naskrecki
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00427001 Cup Moth (Limacodidae) caterpillar with spines that can deliver an extremely painful sting, Virachey National Park, Cambodia© Piotr Naskrecki
Spiny Ant (Polyrhachis armata), Angkor Wat, Cambodia
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00572364 Spiny Ant (Polyrhachis armata), Angkor Wat, Cambodia© Paul Bertner
Crown-of-thorns Starfish (Acanthaster planci) feeding on coral, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia
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00643000 Crown-of-thorns Starfish (Acanthaster planci) feeding on coral, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia© Gary Bell/ Oceanwide
Brown-breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) occurs broadly in the Palaearctic region, will defend itself by rolling into a ball and exposing its spines  -  Norbert Wu
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00135653 Brown-breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) occurs broadly in the Palaearctic region, will defend itself by rolling into a ball and exposing its spines© Norbert Wu
Long-spined Sea Urchin (Diadema sp) group, Anilao, Philippines
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00597280 Long-spined Sea Urchin (Diadema sp) group, Anilao, Philippines© Gary Bell/ Oceanwide
Armadillo Lizard (Cordylus cataphractus) curled up in typical defensive posture, native to Namibia and South Africa  -  ZSSD
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00117516 Armadillo Lizard (Cordylus cataphractus) curled up in typical defensive posture, native to Namibia and South Africa© ZSSD
Woodlouse (Calmanesia sp), Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Antananarivo, Madagascar
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00572483 Woodlouse (Calmanesia sp), Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Antananarivo, Madagascar© Paul Bertner
Spiny Stone Crab (Lithodes murrayi) juvenile and lamp shells, Macaquarie Island, Australia
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00586531 Spiny Stone Crab (Lithodes murrayi) juvenile and lamp shells, Macaquarie Island, Australia© Gary Bell/ Oceanwide
Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus) overhead view, native to the Central Desert, Western Australia  -  Gerry Ellis
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00204021 Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus) overhead view, native to the Central Desert, Western Australia© Gerry Ellis
Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus) adult, close-up of head, Outback, Northern Territory, Australia  -  Jurgen and Christine Sohns/ FLPA
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80123655 Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus) adult, close-up of head, Outback, Northern Territory, Australia© Jurgen & Christine Sohns / FLPA
Katydid (Panacanthus cuspidatus), Yasuni National Park, Ecuador
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00572438 Katydid (Panacanthus cuspidatus), Yasuni National Park, Ecuador© Paul Bertner
Cup Moth (Limacodidae) aposematically colored caterpillar with spines that can deliver an extremely painful sting, Atewa Range Forest Reserve, Ghana  -  Piotr Naskrecki
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00477511 Cup Moth (Limacodidae) aposematically colored caterpillar with spines that can deliver an extremely painful sting, Atewa Range Forest Reserve, Ghana© Piotr Naskrecki
Saddleback Moth (Sibine horrida) caterpillars with poisonous spines, Costa Rica  -  Ingo Arndt
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00499166 Saddleback Moth (Sibine horrida) caterpillars with poisonous spines, Costa Rica© Ingo Arndt
Moth (Automeris sp) caterpillar, with spines that can eject potent venom, Manu National Park, Peru  -  Thomas Marent
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00785491 Moth (Automeris sp) caterpillar, with spines that can eject potent venom, Manu National Park, Peru© Thomas Marent
Four-toed Hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris), Toubacouta, Senegal  -  Roland Seitre
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00530652 Four-toed Hedgehog (Atelerix albiventris), Toubacouta, Senegal© Roland Seitre
Katydid (Panacanthus cuspidatus) threat display, Amazon rainforest, Ecuador  -  Michael & Patricia Fogden
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00510999 Katydid (Panacanthus cuspidatus) threat display, Amazon rainforest, Ecuador© Michael & Patricia Fogden
Spiny Starfish (Marthasterias glacialis), Scotland  -  Ron Offermans/ Buiten-beeld
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00537536 Spiny Starfish (Marthasterias glacialis), Scotland© Ron Offermans/ Buiten-beeld
Lionfish (Pterois sp) swimming over coral reef, venomous reef fish, 20 feet deep off of the Solomon Islands  -  Chris Newbert
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00972738 Lionfish (Pterois sp) swimming over coral reef, venomous reef fish, 20 feet deep off of the Solomon Islands© Chris Newbert
Blackfoot Firefish (Parapterois heterurus) at night, Anilao, Philippines
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00597184 Blackfoot Firefish (Parapterois heterurus) at night, Anilao, Philippines© Gary Bell/ Oceanwide
Common Porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum), Nova Scotia, Canada  -  Scott Leslie
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00525322 Common Porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum), Nova Scotia, Canada© Scott Leslie
Purple Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) group feeding on last kelp in barren, Mendocino, California
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00642051 Purple Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) group feeding on last kelp in barren, Mendocino, California© Ralph Pace
Brown-breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) portrait on lawn, Germany  -  Ingo Arndt
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00762308 Brown-breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) portrait on lawn, Germany© Ingo Arndt
Crown-of-thorns Starfish (Acanthaster planci) feeding on corals, Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico  -  Norbert Wu
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00135105 Crown-of-thorns Starfish (Acanthaster planci) feeding on corals, Sea of Cortez, Baja California, Mexico© Norbert Wu
Crown-of-thorns Starfish (Acanthaster planci) a damaging predator of coral reefs, Fiji  -  Pete Oxford
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00541927 Crown-of-thorns Starfish (Acanthaster planci) a damaging predator of coral reefs, Fiji© Pete Oxford
Treehopper (Umbonia crassicornis) portrait, Costa Rica  -  Piotr Naskrecki
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00298162 Treehopper (Umbonia crassicornis) portrait, Costa Rica© Piotr Naskrecki
Spiked Spider (Gasteracantha sp), Angkor Wat, Cambodia
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00572583 Spiked Spider (Gasteracantha sp), Angkor Wat, Cambodia© Paul Bertner
Purple Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus), Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada  -  Norbert Wu
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00136337 Purple Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus), Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada© Norbert Wu
Titan Triggerfish (Balistoides viridescens) attacking a Long Spine Sea Urchin (Diadema setosum) it has dislodged from between rocks, Bali, Indonesia  -  Fred Bavendam
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00152882 Titan Triggerfish (Balistoides viridescens) attacking a Long Spine Sea Urchin (Diadema setosum) it has dislodged from between rocks, Bali, Indonesia© Fred Bavendam
Sea Urchin Cardinalfish (Siphamia versicolor) juveniles hiding in venomous spines of Radiant Sea Urchin (Astropyga radiata), Bali, Indonesia  -  Norbert Wu
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00513314 Sea Urchin Cardinalfish (Siphamia versicolor) juveniles hiding in venomous spines of Radiant Sea Urchin (Astropyga radiata), Bali, Indonesia© Norbert Wu
Porcupinefish (Diodon sp), Red Sea, Egypt  -  Birgitte Wilms
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00972243 Porcupinefish (Diodon sp), Red Sea, Egypt© Birgitte Wilms
Spiked Spider (Gasteracantha sp) their abdomen, or opisthosoma, is heavily sclerotized and armed with hard spines possibly to protect against birds and lizards, Solomon Islands  -  Piotr Naskrecki
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00298206 Spiked Spider (Gasteracantha sp) their abdomen, or opisthosoma, is heavily sclerotized and armed with hard spines possibly to protect against birds and lizards, Solomon Islands© Piotr Naskrecki
Purple Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) and Red Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus franciscanus) group, Channel Islands, California  -  Fred Bavendam
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00151848 Purple Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) and Red Sea Urchin (Strongylocentrotus franciscanus) group, Channel Islands, California© Fred Bavendam
Porcupinefish (Diodon nicthemerus) swallows water to puff itself up and points its spines outward as a defense against predators, South Australia  -  Fred Bavendam
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00151495 Porcupinefish (Diodon nicthemerus) swallows water to puff itself up and points its spines outward as a defense against predators, South Australia© Fred Bavendam
Regal Thorny Oyster (Spondylus regius), Meeresmuseum Ozeania, Riedenburg, Germany  -  Ingo Arndt
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00522714 Regal Thorny Oyster (Spondylus regius), Meeresmuseum Ozeania, Riedenburg, Germany© Ingo Arndt
Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus) in the desert near Ayers Rock, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia  -  Michael & Patricia Fogden
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00510718 Thorny Devil (Moloch horridus) in the desert near Ayers Rock, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia© Michael & Patricia Fogden
Brown-breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) pair near water, Europe  -  Jan Dolfing/ Buiten-beeld
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00546695 Brown-breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) pair near water, Europe© Jan Dolfing/ Buiten-beeld
Ocellated Waspfish (Apistus carinatus) adult, with pectoral fins open and poisonous spines erect, on black sand at night, Lembeh Straits, Sulawesi, Greater Sunda Islands, Indonesia, February  -  Colin Marshall/ FLPA
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80185396 Ocellated Waspfish (Apistus carinatus) adult, with pectoral fins open and poisonous spines erect, on black sand at night, Lembeh Straits, Sulawesi, Greater Sunda Islands, Indonesia, February© Colin Marshall / FLPA
Brazilian Porcupine (Coendou prehensilis), native to Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, the Guyanas, and Bolivia  -  Michael Durham
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00442503 Brazilian Porcupine (Coendou prehensilis), native to Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, the Guyanas, and Bolivia© Michael Durham
Slug Caterpillar (Setora fletcheri) shows warning coloration and spines loaded with toxins that erect when the animal is disturbed, Tam Dao National Park, Vietnam  -  Mark Moffett
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00116064 Slug Caterpillar (Setora fletcheri) shows warning coloration and spines loaded with toxins that erect when the animal is disturbed, Tam Dao National Park, Vietnam© Mark Moffett
Sea Cucumber (Stichopus chloronotus) with spines, Pincers, Night dive, Palau  -  Colin Marshall/ FLPA
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80022977 Sea Cucumber (Stichopus chloronotus) with spines, Pincers, Night dive, Palau© Colin Marshall/ FLPA
Brown-breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) adult, Europe  -  Flip de Nooyer
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00277503 Brown-breasted Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus) adult, Europe© Flip de Nooyer
African Hedgehog (Atelerix algirus) portrait, northwest Africa  -  Gerry Ellis
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00202840 African Hedgehog (Atelerix algirus) portrait, northwest Africa© Gerry Ellis
Spotted Spiny Lobster (Panulirus guttatus), Saba, Caribbean  -  Hans Leijnse/ NiS
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70023307 Spotted Spiny Lobster (Panulirus guttatus), Saba, Caribbean© Hans Leijnse/ NiS
Short-beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) portrait, Australia  -  Mitsuaki Iwago
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00125543 Short-beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) portrait, Australia© Mitsuaki Iwago
Spiny Darkling Beetle, Bandar Abbas, Iran  -  Mark Moffett
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00129231 Spiny Darkling Beetle, Bandar Abbas, Iran© Mark Moffett
Short-beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) pair foraging, Tasmania, Australia
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00574978 Short-beaked Echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) pair foraging, Tasmania, Australia© D. Parer & E. Parer-Cook
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