Unusual Animal Report
The ubiquitous holothurian, or the sea cucumber, is an echinoderm, a species like sea urchins and starfish. The sea cucumber has about 1,500 species worldwide. Some species are less than an inch, and some are longer than six feet. The sea cucumber usually lives from five to ten years. The sea cucumber’s body is like a cucumber, but some look spiky and have lots of different colors and patterns on their skin. Sea cucumbers live on the ocean sand, and they may hide under the ocean floor, if they want to. Some live in the shallow waters, and some in the deep ocean. Sea cucumbers eat little things like tiny sea animals, algae and waste. Sea cucumbers have eight to 30 tube feet around their mouths. With these tube feet, sea cucumbers feast. The sea cucumber scans the sands of the ocean floor for dead plant and animal remains, much like an earthworm would do on land. When the sea cucumber accidently swallows sand, they pass it out of their bottom. The sea cucumber moves very slowly across the ocean floor. Some kinds of sea cucumbers move their muscles slowly to get around, and some sea cucumbers move with little tube feet, like the ones starfish have. Sea cucumbers live in different conditions. Some live on shallow reefs, and some live in deep sea vents that are sometimes 3.5 kilometers. Other sea cucumbers are “planktonic”, which means that the sea cucumber goes with the water’s currents, like seaweed. Sea cucumbers are a tasty treat for marine inhabitants and fish. Some people like to eat sea cucumbers, and some kinds of sea cucumber are bred so people can eat them. When sea cucumbers are bothered, they produce sticky string to frighten their predators. The predator, such as a fish or a crab, can then become tangled in those threads. Some parts of Japan treat this sea cucumber defense system as a tasty treat to eat. Some sea cucumbers can...
Bibliography: Lang, Elliott. Sea Cucumbers Complete Owner’s Guide. United States. IMB Publishing,
January 15, 2014
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