Sea cucumbers are a species of invertebrates under the phylum Echinodermata similar to sea stars and sea urchins. They live in the benthic zone or ocean floor. They are nocturnal creatures but can be seen in the day as well. They use their tube feet for locomotion and eating. The mouth is surrounded by twenty retractable tentacles that help them bring food in. They may seem slow, but have a very effective defense mechanism called evisceration in which they can jettison their internal organs to distract or in hopes their prey will eat their organs instead of attacking them. They can regenerate these organs within days.
Their diets consist of algae, aquatic invertebrates, and waste particles in the ocean. Sea cucumbers are in high demands in Asian markets for their use in medicine and food. Sea cucumbers reproduce by the female launching her eggs in the waters, the male does a similar process with his sperm. Sea cucumbers can also self-reproduce as well.
Sea cucumber’s shape is elongated and is found on the sea floor worldwide. The most common species found on Catalina Island include the warty sea cucumber and the giant California sea cucumber. Visit our camp to learn all about them!