Giant Sea Cucumber
- Long tubular body covered in large, stiff, conical papillae, or pseudo-spines, on body. Usually lighter in color than body.
- Body is dark red, brown, or yellow in coloration.
- Dense arrangement of tube feet on bottom.
- Adults reach 10 to 16 inches in length.
- From western Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea to Baja California, Mexico.
- Prefer exposed and sheltered areas protected from strong waves.
- Often found on gravel and shell debris.
- Live from the low intertidal zone to 300 feet deep.
- Giant sea cucumbers become mature at 4-8 years old.
- Giant sea cucumbers reproduce by broadcast spawning.
- The broadcast spawning events are thought to coincide with phytoplankton blooms and occurs in the summer.
- Larvae are free-swimming in the open water before settling to the bottom.
- Feeds on organic detritus and small organisms, mixed with bottom sediments.
- They are known to eat and breath with both their mouth and their anus.
- Sunflower stars, purple sun stars, sea stars, sea otters, humans.
- They are the largest sea cucumber on the Pacific Northwest coast..
- The giant sea cucumbers in Puget Sound are known to lose and regrow nearly all of their internal organs every fall!
- They can eviscerate, or spit out, all of their organs as a defense mechanism.
- In Asia, giant sea cucumbers are considered a delicacy.
Sources: Walla Walla University; National Geographic; California Sea Grant
Photo: Herb Gruenhagen