What eats sea cucumbers?


Quick Answer

Sea cucumbers are eaten by crabs, fish, crustaceans, sea turtles and sea stars. Sea cucumbers are also eaten by people around the world, particularly those that live in Asia.

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Full Answer

Sea cucumbers have a number of defense mechanisms in place to avoid, trick and repel predators. They use camouflage to hide themselves, and their skin is tough and leathery for protection. Sea cucumbers can also eject some of the internal organs out of their bodies. The organs that shoot out of the sea cucumbers are edible, which allows them to escape while their enemy is distracted. They achieves this by contracting their muscles and ejecting the organs anally. The organs that are expelled regenerate to replace those that were ejected. Some sea cucumbers also release lethal toxic fluids from inside their bodies to protect themselves, while tropical sea cucumbers discharge tubules of sticky thread to trap their enemies.

Sea cucumbers belong to a group of animals called Echinodermata. The group also includes starfish, sea urchins and sand dollars. There are approximately 1,250 different varieties of sea cucumbers in the ocean. The majority of them make their homes near coral reefs. Sea cucumbers use tube-like feet surrounding their mouths to eat algae, aquatic invertebrates and waste particles from the ocean floor.

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