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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

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Interesting Animal Facts

The world’s first Animals

Invertebrates were the first animals to evolve. While their soft bodies left precious few records behind, there are fossils of sponge-like animals that are 665 million years old, as well as traces of tracks and burros from worm-like animals going back 1 billion years. By comparison, the earliest birds appeared only 150 million years ago! And not only were invertebrates first, they are the most plentiful of animals - it is estimated that 97% of all animals living on the Earth today are invertebrates, with several groups containing more species than all vertebrates combined!

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