Sea cucumber

Sea cucumber

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Credit: PETER SCOONES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Sea cucumber (Thelenota sp.) spawning. Microscopic sex cells (gametes) are being released to allow fertilisation (the fusing of a male and a female sex cell). The resulting larvae may grow into adult sea cucumbers. This marine invertebrate is a member of a group of animals (echinoderms) that includes starfish. A sea cucumber lives on the sea floor, crawling on its projecting tube feet, but mostly remaining motionless and gathering its food from the water. It feeds on microscopic sea life (plankton) and also extracts nutrients from the surrounding mud. Sea cucumbers range in length from 2 centimetres to 2 metres. They are found worldwide. Photographed in the Red Sea.

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Keywords: animal, bed, bottom, echinoderm, echinodermata, floor, indian, indo-pacific, invertebrates, marine, nature, ocean, red sea, reproducing, reproduction, sand, sandy, sea, sea cucumber, seabed, sexual, spawning, thelenota sp., underwater, wildlife, zoology

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