Ashy sea cucumber

The water that may drain from a sea cucumber’s body is “exhaled” water from the respiratory tree. The ashy sea cucumber is probably the most common sea cucumber on Hawaiian shorelines. The body of this species is black covered with a thin gray membrane giving the appearance that its coated with ashes. This sea cucumber has a relatively narrow band of small, weak tube feet and is found in more protected locations on the reef flat and in tidepools where it either wedges it body tightly into cracks and crevices or clings to the bottom surfaces of rocks. This cucumber is a suspension feeder; it collects drifting detritus from the water with highly branched feeding tentacles that are coated with mucus. When extended, the tentacles look like sprigs of black parsley.