Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sea Cucumber Hitchiker!

Oh...My....God....Look at what I found in our refugium! It's a hitchiker. I didn't know what the hell it was. Mike, our aquarium expert, identified it as a sea cucumber. This is the coolest thing ever!

In case you didn't believe me, here's a close up of this creature. What should we name him? Her?
About Sea Cucumbers:
Some can grow up to enormous lengths. Also, many reef aquariusts fear them because when they die, they release a lethal dose of toxins that can "nuke" the entire tank. This guy is small enough that Mike told me not to worry. Plus, he seems happy in the refugium. He's in a safe place where no one picks on him as well. We've decided to risk the "nuclear" potential of this guy and keep him because he is just so dang cool! I looked him up: he's a "Yellow Knobby Sea Cucumber", originating from the Indian ocean, often sold for $20 each. Cool! (The official name is: Colochirus robustus). He's a supsension feeder that needs lots of detritus and phytoplankton, as well as rotifers. No wonder he likes my refugium!
Cool Facts about Sea Cucumbers:
  • They can spill out their guts as a defense mechanism. Evisceration. They then grow their guts back. Ewww!
  • Sea cucumbers communicate with each other by sending chemical signals through the water.
  • They can reorganize their endoskleton in order to fit through small cracks (they liquefy themselves, squeeze through, and become solid again). I wish I had that superpower!
  • They are scavengers and eat detritus found on the sea floor. You can also feed them phytoplankton.
  • Sea cucumber are slow, fairly sedentary creatures.
  • They breathe, eat, and poop out of the same orifice. Ewww!
  • They can go for long periods of time without eating and actually can partially eat themselves for sustenance! Ewww! (If your sea cucumber is getting smaller, it needs to be fed! Stat!)
  • The "toxins" secreted as a defense mechanism by some sea cucumbers are being studied for its anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Cool!
  • They can reproduce asexually---by splitting into 2! Neat!
Sea Cucumber Links:

Random Pics of my other Non-Aquatic Pets:

Floyd and I cuddling on the sofa.

Floyd gets rambunctious and wants to play.

Travis hears the commotion and gets jealous, leaping on top of us.
"That's MY person!" Travis protests.

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