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This sea cucumber is common on shallow reef flats and tidepools where there is moderate to heavy wave action. It is colored a chocolate brown and flecked with white spots over the top and sides. The body wall is thick and muscular to resist wave impact and strong tube feet are concentrated along one side, forming a “sole” for clinging to the rocks. The terminal mouth is usually extended downward like a vacuum cleaner as its scoop-like feeding tentacles gather sand and detritus from the bottom. Indigestible sand is eliminated through the anus in strings of sandy beads. This species is also called the rump-toothed sea cucumber in reference to the 5 triangular teeth visible in the anal opening. Presumably, these teeth serve as a deterrent to infection by the parasitic pearl fish (Carapus) which enters the anal open of sea cucumbers to live within the lower digestive tract.
Indo-Pacific, including Hawai‘i
to 12 inches long
organic matter, detritus
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