Sea Cucumber Bohadschia graffei
The juveniles of this sea cucumber look completely different from the adult (shown here). They are white with black lines and protruding yellow papillae, closely resembling sea slugs from the genus Phyllidia. These slugs are distasteful to fish, so this mimicry protects the young sea cucumbers. Bohadschia graeffei feeds by scooping sand and mud into its mouth using large black tentacles, which are modified tube feet. Organic material in the sediment is digested, while the remainder passes through the gut and is deposited outside, looking like a string of sausages. In areas where sea cucumbers are common, much of the surface sediment is vacuumed up and cleaned several times a year in this way.
- Class Holothuroidea
- Length Up to 12 in (30 cm)
- Depth 15–165 ft (5–50 m)
- Habitat Coral reefs
- Distribution Tropical waters of Indian Ocean, Red Sea, western Pacific