Cucumaria piperata (Stimpson, 1864)
Common name(s): Peppered sea cucumber, Salt and pepper sea cucumber
|Synonyms: Pentacta piperata|
|Cucumaria piperata, 12 cm long, from 10 m depth at Northwest Island|
|(Photo by: Dave Cowles, July 2005)|
How to Distinguish from Similar Species: Cucumaria miniata grows larger, is brown or orange, and is not speckled. Eupentacta species may be similar in color but are usually smaller and have no speckles.
Geographical Range: Queen Charlotte Islands, BC to Baja California (reported sightings south of Puget Sound may actually be of Pseudocnus lubricus).
Depth Range: Subtidal to 137 m
Habitat: Wedged between and under rocks and cobble
Biology/Natural History: A suspension feeder. Spawns in spring in Puget Sound. Eggs are olive-green and float when released; larvae are orange. Body wall (but not the viscera) is toxic to fish such as kelp greenling and gunnels but apparently not to seastars. May contain the pea crab Pinnixa faba.
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Morris et al., 1980
O'Clair and O'Clair, 1998
Ricketts et al., 1985
Arndt, A., C. Marquez, P. Lambert, and M.J. Smith, 1966. Molecular phylogeny of eastern Pacific sea cucumbers (Echinodermata: Holothuroidea) based on mitochondrial DNA sequence. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 6(3): 425-437
The ten buccal tentacles are branched. Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2005
The tube feet are in rows down the body. Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2005