Now Playing Tracks

Swimming Sea Cucumber - Enypniastes eximia
by ~JadaFitch  -  Oil on Panel 

Second and third images via this site.

Enypniastes eximia (Echinodermata | Holothuroidea) is an important member of the benthic boundary layer community in deep waters. Like most holothurians [sea cucumbers] it feeds on sediments at the bottom of the ocean.  Unlike most sea cucumbers, it isn’t sessile: it swims.

Holothurians⇔ sea cucumbers

Benthic boundary layer ⇔  the sediment at the bottom of a river | lake | ocean and the layer of water directly above it.

Benthic ⇔ the ecological region at the lowest level of a body of water such as an ocean or a lake, including the sediment surface and some sub-surface layers. Benthic organisms generally live in close relationship with the substrate bottom and many are permanently attached to the bottom.

It can be found in every ocean, 500 - 5,000 meters deep and is able to swim up 1,000 meters using front and back swimming structures.

E. eximia finds food by using the tentacles surrounding its mouth to pick up sediments from the sea floor, from which it extracts the attached edible organic material.  

When threatened, the swimming sea cucumber can cover its entire body in a bioluminescent glow.  Direct observations have shown how this bioluminescence is produced. It is  triggered mechanically - when the animal is physically contacted or impacted by something.  

Light emission in this species appears to serve as ananti-predatory strategy, in the sense of being a ‘burglar alarm’. In its dark, near-bottom habitat, physical contact by a predator elicits light production which reveals the presence of the attacker to [the predator’s] own visually-cued predators. The luminescent surface tissue then easily sloughs off, which may also serve to confuse the predator.

Sea cucumbers serve a useful purpose in the marine ecosystem as they help recycle nutrients, breaking down detritus and other organic matter after which bacteria can continue the degradation process.

Some information from Bruce H. Robison, ”Bioluminescence in the benthopelagic holothurian Enypniastes eximia" in Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, May 1992. [ abstract ]

NOAA video

Encyclopedia of Life

979 notes

  1. hiphopocliedes reblogged this from glitt3rfarts
  2. glitt3rfarts reblogged this from punkswithcleankitchens
  3. ardentlupus reblogged this from smellslike-teensluts
  4. try-harderr reblogged this from smellslike-teensluts
  5. smellslike-teensluts reblogged this from gravitationalbeauty
  6. heavybreathinglungs reblogged this from gravitationalbeauty
  7. wearethestarchildren reblogged this from gravitationalbeauty
  8. aluminothermic reblogged this from gravitationalbeauty
  9. goaskkatttt reblogged this from gravitationalbeauty
  10. divine-revenant reblogged this from gravitationalbeauty and added:
    This is the most interesting and informative thing I’ve seen all week.
  11. venusflora reblogged this from gravitationalbeauty
  12. fapsonjackson reblogged this from gravitationalbeauty
  13. prettyonthepinkside reblogged this from punkswithcleankitchens
  14. 7rypophobe reblogged this from gravitationalbeauty
  15. punkswithcleankitchens reblogged this from gravitationalbeauty
  16. awkwardd-fucktardd reblogged this from gravitationalbeauty
  17. mariarod18 reblogged this from gravitationalbeauty
  18. gravitationalbeauty reblogged this from mucholderthen
  19. dreams-of-stars reblogged this from kiloueka
  20. kiloueka reblogged this from earthandscience
  21. jaywalkingly reblogged this from mucholderthen
  22. fcpsits reblogged this from mucholderthen
  23. shannonbarkley reblogged this from ryanreprise
  24. milesian reblogged this from thejeweledotter
  25. ryanreprise reblogged this from mucholderthen
To Tumblr, Love Pixel Union