Hairy Sea Cucumber
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.