Saturday, August 16, 2008
Photohunter: Colorful Cucumber
This is a violet sea cucumber (also called a sea apple). They are native to the western pacific and eastern indian oceans. They get their name from the violet ring around their feeding tentacles. Their body may be violet as well (like this guy's) or may be yellow, red, or blue. They use their bright yellow tube feet to move around the ocean floor, and the feeding tentacles to pick up detritus from the sea floor, or filter it from the water column.
The color of the violet sea cucumber is not just for show. When disturbed, like being picked on by a fish, the violet sea cucumber release toxic mucus. Fish and other animals learn quickly not to upset anything that looks like them.