Immune systems in animals rely on fast and efficient responses to a wide variety of pathogens. The Sp185/333 gene family in the purple sea urchin, Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, consists of an estimated 50 (±10) members per genome that share a basic gene structure but show high sequence diversity, primarily due to the mosaic appearance of short blocks of sequence called elements. The genes show significantly elevated expression in three subpopulations of phagocytes responding to marine bacteria. The encoded Sp185/333 proteins are highly diverse and have central effector functions in the immune system. In this study we report the Sp185/333 gene expression in single sea urchin phagocytes. Sea urchins challenged with heat-killed marine bacteria resulted in a typical increase in coelomocyte concentration within 24 h, which included an increased proportion of phagocytes expressing Sp185/333 proteins. Phagocyte fractions enriched from coelomocytes were used in limiting dilutions to obtain samples of single cells that were evaluated for Sp185/333 gene expression by nested RT-PCR. Amplicon sequences showed identical or nearly identical Sp185/333 amplicon sequences in single phagocytes with matches to six known Sp185/333 element patterns, including both common and rare element patterns. This suggested that single phagocytes show restricted expression from the Sp185/333 gene family and infers a diverse, flexible, and efficient response to pathogens. This type of expression pattern from a family of immune response genes in single cells has not been identified previously in other invertebrates.