Friday, 3 February 2012

Sea Apple

Image: emmiegrn via Flickr
What happens when you take a cucumber and squish it up a little? You get an apple of course! Or at least that's what happens in the sea...

Image: dwward via Flickr
Sea Apples are roughly spherical (ish) Sea Cucumbers from the Indo-Pacific. They come in all sorts of fantastic colours and are definitely the pretty-boys of the Sea Cucumber world. Many are nocturnal, spending the days in a protective ball. At night, they might shock you with their feeding method.

That's right! Sea Apples don't eat mud! Like hoity-toity, la-di-da aristocrats, they choose a more elevated manner of gaining sustenance. They're filter feeders, using incredibly intricate tentacles to filter plankton out of the water current.

They still can't help but betray their lowly roots, though. Those fancy tentacles have to be stuffed into their mouth and covered in mucus. After waving them around in the water for a while they go straight back into their gob to suck the plankton off.

Even at night there may be fish and the like tempted to take a bite out of an apple. Desperate times call for disgusting measures for a Sea Cucumber, and a Sea Apple will release toxins and internal organs into the water to scare away predators.

You can take the Apple out of the Cucumber, but you can't take the Cucumber out of the Apple.


TexWisGirl said...

gorgeous, flaming colors!

Unknown said...

Yes! They're quite spectacular!

Anonymous said...

Gosh, releasing internal organs again! That has to be the second most disgusting activity on this blog! (second only to the land planarians and their super-spider-slime)

Unknown said...

That Planarian is definitely a hard one to beat! I'll have to keep on the look-out for more disgusting stuff. It's a real pleasure!

Anonymous said...

And do not forget about the multi-monster entry with the most disgusting stuff!

As a side note, I have read that a giant amphipod has been discovered somewhere in the depths of the Pacific Ocean. It is a nice companion to the giant isopod! :D Probably not much is known about these giant amphipods at this time...

Unknown said...

You know, it's a great idea for a multi-monster but I always pile up ever more thought on these things. If I come across a load of disgusting stuff, I can do something simple. If I wait a while, I might be able to do something more ambitious. Right now I think I'll keep it mind for later. Plenty more Anglerfish in the sea until then!

As for this amphipod... yeh, Supergiant! I guess I missed the boat on that one! Ah well.

Crunchy said...

The Radiolab podcast had an episode the other day about the Gryllacrididae cricket, which has a rudimentary sense of self. Advanced enough for it to recognize its own scent but not enough to stop an injured one from eating its own viscera. Sorry, the whole "gut ejection" thing reminded me of that.

And that, in turn, reminds me of the Weta Bug, a cricket about the size of a gerbil! Have a look!

Heh heh. He likes carrots.

Unknown said...

Sense of self in a cricket? Wow! The fact that it eats its own viscera is nasty, we can scarcely drink our own saliva once it's out of the mouth. Perhaps we're the ones with the problem?

And yeh, I got plans for that Weta!

Crunchy said...

The explanation was that in the wild, fatty foods are rare and valuable and therefore extremely appetizing. It was basically the cricket equivalent of disemboweling yourself, only to have a bunch of delicious cheeseburgers (or chocolate) pour out.

...I wish I was made of cheeseburgers.

Unknown said...

Aah! It makes me wonder how much brains it requires to realise when eating has officially become pointless.

I never thought about wanting to actually BE cheeseburgers (or chocolate) before. You must love cheeseburgers very much. I wish you a happy life together, and I hope the food/consumer-of-food thing doesn't put too much pressure on your relationship.

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