Dietary lipids serve as important sources of energy and essential fatty acids for aquatic animals. Sources of animal and plant oils are increasingly limited as well as expensive, and dietary requirements associated with the inclusion of these oils must be carefully evaluated to facilitate sustainable and affordable formulations. In this study, we investigated quantities of menhaden oil (MO) with and without soybean lecithin or soybean oil (SO) to determine appropriate levels for optimal somatic growth for pre-gonadal juvenile Lytechinus variegatus. We prepared semi-purified diets that varied in neutral lipid content (0, 2, 4, or 8% dry matter) and soy lecithin (0 or 2%) and exchanged lipids reciprocally with purified starch while holding constant all other nutrients. We maintained laboratory-reared juvenile L. variegatus (average initial wet weight 82±0.7mg, mean±SE, n=9 treatment-1) in recirculating seawater systems and fed each daily a sub-satiation ration for five weeks. We assessed wet weights and test diameters every two weeks and at the end of the experiment (5weeks). Level of MO with or without soybean lecithin did not significantly affect wet weight gain; however, increasing levels of SO in the diet reduced wet weight gain and dry matter production efficiency and increased feed conversion ratio. Dry gut weight was positively correlated with level of MO. Lipid level in the gut increased with increasing dietary lipid level, regardless of source. These data suggest the composition of the SO is inhibitory for either nutrient absorption or metabolic processes associated with growth at this life stage. Diets containing total lipid levels of approximately 5 to 6% that include sources of n-3 fatty acids may support optimal growth for pre-gonadal juvenile L. variegatus. Statement of relevance: Soybean oil reduces growth by reducing production efficiency.