Behold, The Weird, Deep-Sea-Dwelling Transparent Sea Cucumber

by Owen James Burke


A transparent sea cucumber (Enypniastes sp.) discovered over a mile and a half beneath the sea in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo: Laurence Madin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution/CMarZ, Census of Marine Life

This devilish-looking creature was discovered by researchers for the Census of Marine Life in the Gulf of Mexico at a depth of 2,750 meters (9,022 feet) — that’s over a mile and a half deep. Unlike its crawling cousins, the transparent sea cucumber swims along the seabed at a grueling 2 centimeters per minute, feeding its way through the depths as it sifts out detritus, and because it’s transparent, you can even watch it digest — that is, if you ever make it a mile and a half deep into the Gulf of Mexico.


Above: a common sea cucumber. Photo: Ilyas Sadiev/Panoramio

The transparent sea cucumber resembles the cocktail below more than it does the common sea cucumber, for which the Asian markets pay top dollar, and that which we used to throw at each other (disgusting and cruel, yes, and these are not proud moments to look back on, but boys will be boys), though I don’t doubt that someone somewhere won’t try eating it.


Above: A “brain hemorrhage” made of vodka or peach schnapps, grenadine and Irish cream. Not recommended, but a Halloween cocktail if there ever were one. Photo: Kimberly Brown-Azzarello/Flickr

Read more about the transparent sea cucumber via Ocean Portal — OJB

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