Cucumaria miniata

From Natural History of Southeast Alaska
Jump to: navigation, search
Orange sea cucumber:
Orange sea cucumber (Cucumaria miniata): This is the sea cucumber most commonly seen by beachcombers at low tide. It is often spotted as a series of orange "flowers" blooming under the surface, which together with the usually unappealing look of the animal out of the water, make it a good candidate for the organism that undergoes the steepest drop in popularity as it exits the water. In fact, these are the feeding tentacle of this interesting creature, which is related to starfishes, sand dollars and sea urchins. This is not the sea cucumber which is locally harvested by commercial divers, which is California sea cucumber (Parastichopus californicus).

Some specimens are very dark, almost black. Those are considered to be color variations. White specimens are probably Cucumaria pallida, and if they are smaller and stuck to rocks they are probably Eupenctata spp.

This sea cucumber is most abundant in steep, narrow places where rubble line the shoreline and strong tidal currents bring lots of nutrients. In some such places, the abundance of orange sea cucumbers "in bloom" make the seawalls look like underwater fields of California poppies.

Local Notes

add location



Other References

Related Files