Sea cucumber

Sea Cucumbers
Missing image
Sea Cucumber

A Sea Cucumber
Scientific classification

Subclass Apodacea

Subclass Aspidochirotacea

Subclass Dendrochirotacea

The sea cucumber is an echinoderm of the class Holothuroidea, with an elongated body and leathery skin. Mostly found on the sea floor. It is so named because of its cucumber-like shape.

Like all echinoderms, sea cucumbers have an endoskeleton just below the skin.

Sea cucumbers are generally scavengers, feeding on debris in the benthic layer. Their diet consist of plankton and other organic matter found in the sea. One way they might get a supply of food is to position themselves in a current where they can catch food that flow by with their tentacles when they open. Another way is to sift through the bottom sediments using their tentacles.

They have the peculiar adaptation of expelling first sticky threads, perhaps to incapacitate predators, and then their internal organs when startled by a potential predator. These organs can then be regrown.

Sea cucumbers reproduce by releasing sperm and ova into the ocean water. Depending on conditions, one organism can produce thousands of gametes.

Surprising as it may seem, sea cucumbers have inspired musical composition: in the first of his Embryons desschs Erik Satie presents the "(desiccated embryo) of a Holothuroidean" and inserts a description of the animal in the score:

The Holothuroidean crawls across bolders and rocky surfaces.
This sea-animal purrs like a cat; also, it produces disgusting silky threads.
Light appears to have an incommodating effect on it.

Sea cucumbers have also inspired thousands of haiku in Japan, where they are called "namako." In haiku, they are usually called "sea slugs," for the sake of the sluggish metaphor, and there is a book with almost 1000 holothurian haiku translated from Japanese titled "Rise, Ye Sea Slugs!" by Robin D. Gill. According to the OED, the "sea slug" is a holothurian first, but biologists insist on using "sea slug" only for the nudibranch, a mollusc famous for its neat little brain. The sea-cucumber itself does not mind either way, for it is famous for having no brain whatsoever, not even the start of a ganglia. The Japanese scientist-author Motokawa Tatsuo of TIT describes the sea cucumber as the opposite of us humans: We have brains and are made of dumb material, while they, lacking brains boast smart material.

The sea cucumber's closest relatives (the echinoidea) get more attention from scientists, both as embryos and as fossils.

Sea cucumber is one of the most unique foodstuffs in Chinese cuisine. It is highly valued for its supposed medicinal properties. The flesh of the animal is "cleaned" in a process that takes several days. The product is often purchased dried, and rehydrated before use. The product is used in Chinese stews and braised dishes due to its gelatinous texture but is unappetising on its own.

Medicinal uses

Some varieties of sea cucumber (known as "gamat" in Malaysia) are said to have excellent healing properties ( Extracts are prepared and made into oil or cream. Some products are intended to be taken internally ( The effectiveness of sea cucumber extract in tissue repair ( has been the subject of serious study ( It not only helps a wound heal more quickly but is also said to reduce scarring.da:Splser de:Seewalzen nl:Zeekomkommer ja:ナマコ pl:Strzykwy pt:Holothurioidea ru:Голотурии zh:海參


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