Common Name: White Sea Cucumber

Scientific Name: Eupenacta quinquesemita

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Echinodermata

Class: Holothuroidea

Order: Dendrochirotida

Family: Scierodactylidae

Genus: Eupenacta

Species: E. quinquesemita

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A White Sea cucumber is an animal with elongated body and leathery, but soft skin resembling that of a snail. The classifications of this invertebrate are constantly changing due to there being new discoveries. The phylum echinodermata not only includes the White Sea cucumbers, but all sea cucumbers as well as sea stars, sea urchins, sea lilies and brittle stars. It is found in both deep and shallow waters. It’s named cucumber because of its cucumber shape, and its color is white. It has ten yellow- or white-branched tentacles around the mouth. There can be more than ten appendages, branched, oral tentacles, and feet that could be on all sides. The tentacles or tube feet are used to gather food. The structure of a sea cucumber consists of an alimentary canal, which is a long tube that runs from a mouth of a sea cucumber, at the forward end, to the anus, which is at the posterior end of a sea cucumber. The lengths of their body range from 4 inches to 3 feet. They burrow in the sand and have special tubes to help them breathe. This special branch is often called respiratory trees. Sea water is carried into their body from the anus which allows the exchange to happen inside its body. Their skin surface is special because it also is used for breathing.

 

They have been around for millions of years. They have survived complete extinction because of their ability to burrow in deep waters. They do and can live in deep or shallow waters. It lives everywhere in the marine world, even off the coast of Japan to Baja, California. It likes to live in rocky places near the shore to fifteen feet offshore. White Sea Cucumbers eat animals, plants and bacteria, also called plankton. This sea creature sifts the plankton through its tentacles. This type of food is usually in great abundance in the marine environment. All creatures are in competition for their food source, but again plankton is in great abundance in the marine world.

 

As it feasts on plankton, it is also the food source for other sea creatures. The other sea predators are sharks, rays, large fishes, sea stars and other marine animals such as a walrus. They host a number of parasites living off their body surface, tentacles and anal opening. The parasites are crabs, shrimps, worms and snails. The part that got me so interested in this animal is that I never knew it existed before.

 

Author: Rae F.

Published: 2/2008

 

Bibliography:

http://www.answers.com/topic/holothuroidea-sea-cucumber “The Animal World” world book of encyclopedia. volume 6. Chicago world book, inc. 1990 pg.31and 41 http://Oceanlink.Island.net/youth%20forums

 

Photo Credit: http://www.nwmarinelife.com/images/E_%20quinquesemita.jpg