Common Name: Creeping Pedal Sea Cucumber

Scientific Name: Psolus chitonoides

Kindgom: Animalia

Phylum: Echinodermata

Class: Holothuroidea

Order: Dendrochirotacea

Family: Psolidae

Genus: Psolus

Species: P. chitonoides

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The Psolus chitonoides or the Creeping Pedal Sea Cucumber is a red sea cucumber that can be in length up to 5 cm. Its shape looks like half of a cucumber, sliced vertically and laid flat. Underneath the cucumber is covered in tube feet. The upper part of the cucumber is covered with overlapping calcareous plates. The mouth is also on the upper part some distance from the anterior end and is surrounded by bright red tentacles.

 

The habitat of the Creeping Pedal is described as rocks in exposed and sheltered inlets. Mostly found in the low intertidal zone to subtidal depths of 247 meters. They're mostly found in the Pribilof Islands and the Gulf of Alaska to Baja California.

 

The cucumber uses its ten tentacles that are exactly equal to filter detritus from the water. On the tentacles are sticky little pads that help to capture the food particles. The tentacles hold toxins called saponins to warn fish not to eat them.

 

Its role in the food web lies as a decomposer for particles in the water. Some predators who eat the animal and ignore its toxic chemicals are Stimpson's Sun Star, the Northern Sun-Star, the Leather Star, the Sunflower Star, and the Red Rock Crab. The cucumber reproduces in the spring and large female cucumbers release up to 34,700 eggs. The eggs will then form a lecithotrophic larva followed by a pentacula larvae.

 

Author: Taighler R

Published: 2/2008

 

Sources:

http://www.racerocks.com/racerock/eco/taxalab/ensy02/psolusc/nadegec.htm http://zipcodezoo.com/Animals/P/Psolus_chitonoides.asp

 

Photo Credit: Elasmo Diver - ElasmoDiver.com