Fascinating though they may be and as popular as uni has become as a gourmet dish, sea urchins seem to face an aesthetic handicap in terms of "cuteness" due to lack of easily observable expressions. Fortunately, Japan keeps an eye out for such things, and Twitter user and furniture maker @cellutane01's recent trip to Aburatsubo Marine Park in Kanagawa prefecture revealed that perhaps a hidden cuteness of our prickly friends is one of their habits when it comes to eating in groups. It appears when given the chance, the sea urchins will tackle a piece of cabbage in a tug-of-war over the prized veggie.

@cellutane01's photos have prompted surprises from Japanese Twitter users, firstly at the opportunity to see how sea urchins actually eat (and cabbage, at that), but mainly at seeing the competetive nature with which they will "fight" over food, just like humans will spar over the last bit of food. Of course, other animals are known to do this as well, but the image of spiky floating balls stretching strands of cabbage apart is a bit more striking.

The cute image has of course inspired others to play with the original Tweet for added "kawaii" factor.

As well as compare it to similar imagery.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.