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Sea cucumbers   (Actinopyga echinites)
Category: Invertebrates



These tubular echinoderms can be found in oceans all over the world – in some deep sea environments they can be found in very large numbers roving along the ocean floor in search of food. The diet of most sea cucumber consists of decaying organic matter and plankton. Though they don’t resemble other echinoderms at first glance, they are technically radially symmetrical along their horizontal axis and crawl about on their side. One of their most remarkable adaptations is their “catch” collagen that forms their body wall – it can be loosed or tightened at will, allowing them to essentially liquefy their bodies to squeeze through tight spaces.



Data & Facts

Scientific Classification
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Echinodermata
Class - Holothuroidea

Did you know?
Interesting Animal Facts

Body horror in the insect kingdom

Learning about animals, you can discover many fascinating, even beautiful facts, but there are also things that can give you nightmares! Enter the strepsiptera (“twisted-wing parasite”). The adult female has no limbs, wings, or mouth - she simply lives in and feeds off her host (typically a wasp). When it becomes time to mate, she protrudes part of her abdomen from between the plates of her host and uses mind control to get the wasp to fly off to nearby males. Sexually mature males have wings, and fly around for about five hours before dying - spending their entire short existence seeking out females to mate with. After the female is impregnated, her own young grow and consume her. And once there is nothing left to eat, they leave their host wasp, infiltrate the nursery, and latch on to a larvae to create their own “zombie wasp” host and continue the grisly cycle!

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