Parastichopus californicus (California sea cucumber)
2005 Mary Jo Adams
the largest sea cucumber on the West Coast of North America, this
echinoderm can grow to a length of 20 inches. Color is variable
but it is often dark red or yellow-brown. Look for this animal
low in the intertidal on rocky or sandy beaches. It has been
recorded in water over 800 feet deep. This species feeds
on detritus and small organisms that stick to its bushy tentacles.
The tentacles are pulled into the mouth one at a time so
the nutrients can be licked off and channeled into the digestive
tract. The California sea cucumber is preyed on by sea otters,
fish, and several species of sea stars. Other common names
for it are the giant sea cucumber, large red sea cucumber, and California
This page was created by Mary Jo Adams on 1/18/06.
information on this species may be found as follows:
Alaska's Rocky Shores: Animals, Rita M. O'Clair and Charles
E. O'Clair, Plant Press, 1998.