Eupentacta quinquesemita (Selenka, 1867)Common names: Stiff-footed sea cucumber, white sea cucumber
|Found in Rosario Bay, WA. Side view. Animal is approx. 8cm in length.|
|Photo by: Kelly Williams, June 2002|
How to Distinguish from Similar Species: Looks almost identical to E. pseudoquinquesemita. The subtle differences are that E. pseudoquinquesemita has finer and more abundant tube feet with a broad space between the ambulacra. Its body is also softer (less rigid support from calcareous elements). E. pseudoquinquesemita has the large, oval ossicles in the skin but lacks the smaller, basket-shaped ossicles found in E. quinquesemita. E. quinquesemita is more abundant in British Columbia (and south?) while E. pseudoquinquesemita is more abundant in Alaska. If the cucumber is buried and only the white oral tentacles are exposed, it could be confused with Cucumaria pallida. However, C. pallida has 10 oral tentacles of approximately equal length while E. quinquesemita has 8 long and 2 short.
Geographical Range: Sitka, Alaska to Baja California; Japan
Depth Range: Low intertidal to 55 m
Habitat: Under and between rocks and in crevices. Often found in areas of strong current.
Biology/Natural History: E. quinquesemita
is eaten by the sea stars Solaster
helianthoides, and Dermasterias
imbricata, and juvenile Eupentacta are a staple food for
hexactis. Adults rarely expose their tentacles during daylight
hours. Typically have bits of shell and other materials attached
here and there to the tube
feet. Spawning occurs in the spring (March to May). Development
is indirect. Eggs, embryos, and larvae are greenish in color.
The body wall is poisonous to at least some fish. This species eviscerates
seasonally in the fall. Thyonicola americana is a shell-less
snail that parasitizes the gut.
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Lamb and Hanby, 2005
Morris, Abbott, and Haderlie, 1982.
O'Clair and O'Clair, 1998
Ricketts et al., 1985
Byrne, M., 1998. Ultrastructure of autotomy and catch connective tissue regions of the integument of Eupentacta quinquesemita (Holothuroidea). p 447 in Rich Mooi and Malcolm Telford (eds), Echinderms: San Francisco. Proceedings of the ninth international Echinoderm Conference San Francisco, California, USA 5- August 1996. A.A. Balkema