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Species guide

Sea cucumber

cientific name: Cucumaria planci

DESCRIPTION:

The holoturoidea have a long, cylindrical body. They have a very simple morphology, as it is a tube with the mouth occupying one end and the anus the rear. It is brown-buff in colour.
It is normally between 10 and 15 cm in length.

BIOLOGY:

Sea cucumbers are very simple animals without a brain and a highly diffuse nervous system, and herefore display very primitive behaviour.

They have tentacles around their mouth to capture particles of food (plankton) and take them to the mouth.
Sea cucumbers have separate sexes, but there is no type of external sexual dimorphism. There may exceptionally be some case of hermaphroditism. Spawning usually occurs in spring and summer, when the temperature of the water begins to rise.

HABITAT:

It is an invertebrate that lives on sandy beds with a lot of mud, frequently associated with corals and ascidia. They are usually at between 6 and 60 m in the Mediterranean, but it is not a particularly common species.

DISTRIBUTION:

It is in the whole of the Mediterranean Sea.

STATUS:

Species not evaluated (according to the red list of endangered species).

CURIOSITIES:

Sea cucumbers can use their anus to give out sticky filaments that are formed in the Cuvier organs. It gives it out in defence when disturbed, and if the excitation is continuous, it can even release its intestinal tract.