Internal Anatomy Diagram 6
External Anatomy Diagram 6
Classification of the Sea Cucumber8
Ecosystem and Habitat10
Digestive and Excretory Systems11
Unique Characteristics of the Sea Cucumber16
Sea Cucumber at Research17
The Sea Cucumber is an Echinoderm (Phylum Echinodermata) and is also an Invertebrate. Sea Cucumbers belong to the family “Holothuroidea”. There are approximately 1,150 described species of Sea Cucumber of which most are marine and distributed worldwide. Genus Pseudocolochirus are among the most poisonous Sea Cucumbers in the World.
The most important feature distinguishing the sea cucumbers is a calcareous ring that encircles the pharynx or throat. This structure serves as an attachment point for muscles that are in the oral tentacles and for the anterior ends of other muscles that contract the body longitudinally. These animals also have a circle of oral tentacles. Lastly, another feature that distinguishes sea cucumbers is that in 90% of living species, there is a reduction of the skeleton to microscopic ossicles, while in other species the ossicles are enlarged and plate-like. Sea Cucumbers are Macro-benthos along with Clams, Oysters and Starfish.
If a creature is a Macro-benthos it means that it lives on the ocean floor and are larger than one millimeter. The Giant Red or California Sea Cucumber is the largest member of the family Holothuroidea, and a relative of Sea Urchins, Sand Dollars, Starfish, Brittle Stars, and other Echinoderms. Three common Sea Cucumbers are the Warty Sea Cucumber, the California Sea Cucumber, and the White Star Sea Cucumber
CLASSIFICATION OF THE SEA CUCUMBER
SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF EACH DIVISION
Kingdom: Animalia- Organisms classified under Animalia are multicellular and heterotrophic
Phylum: Echinodermata- This phylum contains about 7,000 living species which makes it the second-largest group of deuterostomes, after the chordates. Echinoderms are also the largest phylum that has no freshwater or terrestrial organisms.
Class: Holothuroidea- They have an elongated body and leathery skin and are found on the sea floor worldwide.
ECOSYSTEM & HABITAT
There are several species of the sea cucumber that can be found in the northwest Atlantic, but the most common specie, found near shore areas, is C. frondosa. It has a tube-shaped elongated body with a mouth at one end and an anus at the other. This species of sea cucumber is distributes on both sides of the North Atlantic, ranging from northern Europe and Scandinavia to the Faeroe Islands and Iceland, but also from Greenland southward to the northern shore of Cape Cod, Massachusetts (USA). The C. frondosa prefers rocky and sandy substrates with strong currents. In places like Newfoundland and Labrador, it is most commonly found in waters of less than 30 m.
The sea cucumber is found in oceans at all different depths. Most of them live near rocks, corals, in mud or sand, in sea grasses or in seaweed. They are bottom dwellers and many tropical species are nocturnal. Sea cucumbers dominate the animal life of regions of the ocean that are deeper than about 18,000 feet (5,500 meters). One of the sea cucumber species lives in waters as shallow as 230 feet.
DIGESTIVE AND EXCRETORY SYSTEMS
(mode of nutrition, types of food, etc.)
The sea cucumber has a very simple digestive system and a very primary excretory system. They are generally scavengers and they feed on the debris in the benthic zone of the ocean, which is the ecological region at the lowest level of the ocean.
Most sea cucumbers feed off plankton, tiny particles and decaying organic matter found in their environment. Examples of some of the food they feed on are algae, minuscule aquatic animals and other waste materials. Sea cucumbers gather...