Giant Orange Sea Cucumber

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The Giant Orange Sea Cucumber of the Pacific Northwest

Giant Orange Sea Cucumber, Fish, Vancouver Island, BC Coastal Region, Pacific Northwest
Giant Orange Sea Cucumber, Photo By Bud Logan

The Giant Orange Sea Cucumber can found from Haida Gwaii to California including all of the outer islands. They are usually seen at depths of between 20 meters and 280 meters, but can sometimes be seen much closer to the surface.

They are covered with small, white, fleshy papilla along with around 20 feeding tentacles that are arranged in 2 circles, the body itself is orange in color with small darker rusty spots. The underside is much lighter in color except for the tube feet which are tipped with bright orange.

These guys are awesome to watch as they move about the bottom, looking for a meal. Giant Orange Sea Cucumbers move slowly along the bottom using five rows of sucker like tube feet, Although one local species wiggles through the water in a swimming motion when attacked by the sunflower sea star.

Giant Orange Sea Cucumber, Fish, Vancouver Island, BC Coastal Region, Pacific Northwest
Giant Orange Sea Cucumber, Photo By Robert Logan

They are able to alter their shape, because instead of bones it has a skeleton made of water, a hydro static skeleton. This allows the sea cucumber to shorten and fatten its body to wedge itself into crevices and under rocks or they can stiffen up when something tries to make a meal of them, making it hard to take a bite.

The orange sea cucumber has 20 bushy tentacles that can extend from their mouths, they are used to catch microscopic drifting food. These tentacles are covered by a sticky substance that traps food particles. To eat, the sea cucumber simple inserts its tentacles one by one into its mouth and ‘sucks the food off them. After feeding, they pull all the tentacles into its mouth for safe storage.

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