Sea cucumber

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Sea cucumbers are animals in the phylum echinodermata, which means “spiny skin.” This phylum also includes starfish and sea urchins. They only live in salt water, and vary in length from about 1″ to about 6 feet. Their skin is a bit prickly because underneath it is composed of calcified plates, like interlocking armor pieces. The sea cucumber has a water vascular system, which means it circulates nutrients throughout the body by pumping ocean water in and out. The mouth end has between 8 and 30 little tube feet that grab particulate plant or animal matter from the water for food. This is then digested and excreted out the other end as tiny particles that become food for bacteria. When threatened by predators, such as fish, crabs and sharks, the sea cucumber can expel internal organs out through its anus to confuse the predator. The internal organs can then regrow in about 6 weeks. In some cultures, the sea cucumber is considered a delicacy.

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