Tag Archives: Invertebrates

Navanax: Snail & Slug of the Sea

While most animals found on the sandy bottom areas around CIMI spend most of their time trying to blend in with the sand, the Navanax (Navanax inermis) sticks out like a clown at a camouflage convention. Some head shield slugs like the Navanax and their colorful relatives Nudibranchs have opted out from hiding and instead use colorful displays to send out the message of “yea, I know you can see me, come at me bro…” They spend their time searching the sand for slime trails left by other snails and slugs. Navanax use chemoreceptors on the front of their body to follow these trails of slimy mucous and use their impressive (for a slug) speeds to catch up with, and then devour, their prey.

Navanax will also use this “follow the slime” method to find potential mates. When two of them meet they will first try to eat each other and if that is unsuccessful (usually because they are the exact same size) they will then mate. Scientists have learned a lot about defense mechanisms of other slugs and snails by tracking and recording the eating preferences of the Navanax. Basically, if an eating machine like the Navanax doesn’t want to eat an animal, then that animal is doing something right!

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Writing and Photo Credit: Phil Lemley

Sea Cucumbers: The More You Know


Sea cucumbers are a species of invertebrates under the phylum Echinodermata similar to sea stars and sea urchins. Sea cucumbers live in the benthic zone or ocean floor. They are nocturnal creatures but can be seen in the day as well. Sea cucumber uses 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. Sea cucumbers can regenerate these organs within days.

Sea cucumbers 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.

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