Friday 15 August 2014

Stiff-footed Sea Cucumber

Image: Jerry Kirkhart
Eupentacta quinquesemita
PHWOAR! Look at the legs on that!

The Stiff-footed Sea Cucumber is... well, it's a sea cucumber with stiff feet, right? They're tube feet, much like those on a starfish or many other echinoderms, but somewhat stiff such that they can't be retracted into the body like they can in some other sea cucumbers.

Stiff-footed Sea Cucumbers reach up to 10 cm (4 in) long and range from Alaska down to California. They can also be found in Japan, which is quite a journey. They live in rocky nooks and crannies in shallow and intertidal waters, where they feed on drifting plankton by spreading ten, branching oral tentacles into the current.

One cool thing about these sea cucumbers is that they have five rows of stiff-feet, though each row is itself composed of four rows of feet. I like this because it reminds us that we're looking at an echinoderm with an echinoderm's 5-fold symmetry. Sea cucumbers are the weirdos who rolled onto one side and grew really long so they could live like worms.


Porakiya said...

Having stiff feet is no fun. I should know, cause I had my entire leg fall asleep and could hardly move it.

TexWisGirl said...

the first photo looks like toasted meringue. :)

Unknown said...

Dont wanna scare you guys ,but to us ,Chinese ,its delicacy .

Joseph JG said...

@Porakiya Draekojin: I had both my legs fall asleep once. It was mostly my own fault because I was young, sitting cross-legged in school and I was basically experimenting to see what would be like to have 2 dead legs. It was sort of funny, but not so much at the time

@TexWisGirl: Yeah! It would be a lot of work to get all those legs!

@sonny ting: No surprise there! China excels at investigating the culinary possibilities of the creatures that surround them.