Sea Cucumber in Curaçao

This sea cucumber, collected at 830 feet, hosts a pearl fish, which lives in its anus!
(Barry Brown/Substation Curacao)

Sea cucumbers might have a cucumber shape, but are definitely animal, not vegetable… or fruit. They belong to the Phylum Echinodermata, which also includes sea urchins, sand dollars, sea stars and brittle stars. This specimen, Holothuria sp., was collected by submersible at about 252 meters (830 feet) depth off Curaçao and placed in an aquarium. A few hours later, a small pearlfish swam out of its anus! This pearlfish is not the one that was living inside this sea cucumber, but it's very similar.