Cucumaria miniata (Brandt, 1835)
Common name: Orange Sea Cucumber, red sea cucumber, vermilion sea cucumber, red sea gherkin
Cladodactyla miniata, Stereoderma miniata, Cucumaria japonica, Cucumaria albida
|Found on Sares Head, WA. Side view. Animal is approx. 10cm in length.|
|Photo by: Kelly Williams, June 2002|
How to Distinguish from Similar Species: Cucumaria pallida is of similar size and feeds in a similar manner but it has white oral tentacles.
Geographical Range: From Sitka, Alaska to Monterey Co., California
Depth Range: Low intertidal to 100m deep
Habitat: In cobble and rocky areas, living between rocks and in crevices.
Biology/Natural History: C. miniata uses its oral tentacles to trap small organisms and detritus suspended in the water. Undisturbed animals may have the body curved into a U shape, so that both the mouth and anus are exposed to moving water. The tentacles can retract rapidly if disturbed. C. miniata is predated on by the sea stars Dermasterias imbricata, Solaster stimpsoni, and S. endeca. Kelp greenling fish sometimes nip the oral tentacles. Tests have shown that neither the body wall nor the viscera are toxic to fish. Eggs, embryos, and larvae are orange in color. The larvae have been found in the plankton of the Puget Sound during the months of March and April.
This species sometimes contains an internal parasitic gastropod, Thyonicola
dogieli, which appears as a coiled, egg-filled tube.
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Lamb and Hanby, 2005
Morris, Abbott, and Haderlie, 1992.
Larry R. and Benjamin G. Miner, 2006. Estimation and interpretation
of egg provisioning in marine invertebrates. Integrative and Comparative
Biology 46:3 pp 224-232
Some individuals in a tide pool, wedged between rocks as usual. Photo by Dave Cowles, June 1995.
Width of animal is approximately 7 cm.
Here an individual is stuffing one of its oral tentacles into its mouth. Photo by Dave Cowles, June 1995
Another individual feeding at about 15 m depth off Sares Head, 2014. Notice that a darker-hued individual is in the shadow at the bottom right of the photo.
This photo shows the animals extended underwater. Note the two colors of oral tentacles. Underwater photo by Jim Nestler, July 2005