Intertidal Organisms EZ-ID GUIDES


on this species


Parastichopus californicus (California sea cucumber)

photo of species
Copyright © 2005 Mary Jo Adams


As 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 stichopus.

This page was created by Mary Jo Adams on 1/18/06.



Additional information on this species may be found as follows:

Southeast Alaska's Rocky Shores: Animals, Rita M. O'Clair and Charles E. O'Clair, Plant Press, 1998.