National Aquarium - Yellow Sea Cucumber

Yellow Sea Cucumber

Colochirus robustus

DID YOU KNOW?

As a defense, yellow sea cucumbers can expel their internal organs—then quickly regenerate them.

Exhibit Name and Location:
Baltimore - Pacific Coral Reef

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Yellow Sea Cucumber

Also known as the robust sea cucumber, yellow sea cucumbers are echinoderms (which means “spiny skin”) and are bright yellow in color. They are cylindrical in shape and have thorn-like protuberances on the body with a ring of eight feeding tentacles on one end. Three rows of tube feet on the underside allow the sea cucumber to attach to rocks, sponges, and other surfaces. They prefer locations with moderate to fast-moving water flow.

Yellow sea cucumbers can reproduce both sexually and asexually. They can release eggs and sperm into the water. Once the egg is fertilized and then hatches, the larva settles onto the sea floor and develops into an adult. They can also reproduce by splitting in half.

Diet

These animals filter their food out of the water using their filtering appendages. By spreading its tentacles, the yellow sea cucumber catches particles drifting in the water, then pulls those tentacles back into the mouth where the food is scraped off.

Size

This species grows to about 2.5 to 3 inches in length.

Range

This species is found in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region. They prefer waters no deeper than 80 feet.

Population Status

Their population is believed to be stable.

Predators

Yellow sea cucumbers are prey for fish and other marine animals, particularly their eggs and young larvae.

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A Note From the Caretaker

In our exhibit, yellow sea cucumbers are fed small plankton, such as baby brine shrimp, but also catch small leftover fish food particles as well as invertebrate larvae and fish waste.