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California Sea Cucumber Parastichopus californicus


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California Sea Cucumber
credit: Eugene van der Pijll

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Category: Seastars and relatives view all from this category

Description The giant California sea cucumber (Parastichopus californicus) is a sea cucumber that can be found from the Gulf of Alaska to Southern California. It is found from the low intertidal zone to a depth of 250 m. They are most abundant in areas with moderate current with cobbles, boulders or bedrock.

The giant California sea cucumber can grow to a length of 50 cm and a width of 5 cm. It has a soft, cylindrical body, with red-brown to yellowish leathery skin. It has an endoskeleton just below the skin. The mouth and anus are on opposite ends of the body. The mouth is surrounded by twenty retractable tentacles that are used to bring food in. Five rows of tube feet extend from the mouth to the anus. Mobility is limited, though individuals can move up to 4 m per day while feeding. They use their tube feet located on the underside of their body.

Habitat Ocean or bay shallows, Tidepools.

Range Northwest, Western Canada, California.