Hairy Sea Cucumber

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Project Description

Hairy Sea Cucumber

Sclerodactyla briareus


Range/Geographical Distribution: From Cape Cod to the Gulf of Mexico.

Habitat: Subtidal along muddy and sandy beaches or estuaries.

Description: A medium-sized sea cucumber that is dark green/brown in color, swollen in the middle, and covered with tube feet.

Size: Can reach six inches in length.

Food: Consumes detritus and can directly absorb free amino acids from sea water.

Breeding: Separate sexes, external fertilization.  Larvae are planktonic before settling into the substrate.

Predators: The unsavory skin and genitals of sea cucumbers keep most predators away.

Conservation Status: No legal status.

Interesting Facts: When threatened by a predator, sea cucumbers can eject their viscera in a sticky mass that entangles and confuses the predator.  The viscera are then regenerated within a few weeks.

On the Coast: Hairy sea cucumbers often wash up onto Georgia’s beaches.  The sandy surf can wear away the tube feet so that these animals look like a swollen brown blob on land.

Project Details


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