Sea Cucumbers

Meet our friends, the Sea Cucumbers!

Oregon Aquarium

 

Sea cucumbers are echinoderms from the class holothuroidea. They are marine invertebrates with a leathery skin and an elongated bod. Sea cucumbers are found on the sea floor worldwide. The number of holothurian species worldwide is about 1250 with the greatest number being in the Asia Pacific region.

 

 

Oregon AquariumMany of these are gathered for human consumption and some species are cultivated in aquaculture systems.  Sea cucumbers serve a useful purpose in the marine ecosystem as they help recycle nutrients, breaking down detritus and other organic matter after which bacteria can continue the degradation process.

 

Oregon Aquarium

 

Like all echinoderms, sea cucumbers have an endoskeleton  just below the skin, calcified structures that are usually reduced to isolated microscopic ossicles (or sclerietes) {say that three times fast!} joined by connective tissue. In some species these can sometimes be enlarged to flattened plates, forming an armour.

 


 

 

 

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