California Sea Cucumber
Scientific Name Parastichopus californicus
Native To Northern Pacific Coast from Alaska to Mexico
Habitat low intertidal zone to a depth of 250 m with areas of moderate current and bedrock or boulders
Diet Scavenger: plankton and other organic matter
Size and Age Can grow to be 50 cm
Giant California sea cucumbers are large squishy invertebrates that occupy the shallow ocean floor. As scavengers, they sift through the sand using tentacles which protrude from their mouth, looking for dead or decaying organic matter. Their mouth and anus are on opposite ends of their body and they move using rows of tube feet that line the bottom of their body. Because their bodies are so soft, they are covered with spike like protuberances that they fill with surrounding ocean water to appear prickly and unappetizing. These body coverings are in fact soft though, and merely mimic the rough texture of other ocean invertebrates.