Characteristics of the sea cucumber

Cucumaria

Classification:

Phylum: Echinodermata

Subphylum: Eleutherozoa

Class: Holothuroidea

Order: Dendrochirota

Type: Cucumaria

Habit and habitat: Cucumaria is inhabits about 200 fathoms deep wholly or partially buried in the mud. It feeds on detritus and plankton.

sea cucumber

Distribution: It has cosmopolitan distribution and specially found in Europe, U.S.A. and India.

 

Characteristics:

  • Commonly called as sea cucumber.
  • Body is elongated horizontally along the oral aboral axis. Color of the body may be whitish, reddish or brown.
  • Oral end contains a whorl of 10 dendritic bushy, pinnately- branched tentacles surrounding the terminal mouth. Tentacles are modified tube feet.
  • Mouth anterior in position.
  • Rest of the body differentiated into 5 ambulacral grooves are covered and run longitudinally.
  • Tube feet, when present, usually possess suckers and are either arranged in rows or are irregularly scattered.
  • Body wall which is dermo-muscular contains very small separate ossicles.
  • There is a single genital aperture, middorsally situated between the bases of two adjacent inter-ambulacral tentacles near mouth.
  • Animal rests on the so-called ventral surface, which flattened and paralleled with oral-about axis of the body, and is pentaradiate. It has 3 ambulacral areas trivium and forms sole. Dorsal surface with 2 ambulacral areas is called as bivium.
  • Anus is aboral with paired respiratory trees. The haemocytes in the coelomic fluid also containĀ  haemoglobin. Lacunar network is absent.
  • Larva is characteristically an auricularia which develops into a doliolaria before metamorphosis.

Identification: since the specimen contains whorl of pinnately branched tentacles, hence it is Cucumaria.

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