Chirodota Chirodota gigas
Chirodota is the largest of the south-eastern holothurians, which are commonly called sea-cucumbers. It is sausage-like in shape, with a thin body wall and no tube feet. Holothurains have a five-sided body plan, like the sea stars, but it is horizontal, not vertical like other echinoderms.
The mouth and tentacles occur at one end to test the environment and the anus at the other end expels unwanted material.
Chirodota is easily recognised by its pinkish, reddish to orange colour, covered with numerous white spots. The white spots are clusters of tiny wheel-shaped calcareous spicules which provide a hardened protective layer.
Chirodota ranges from central New South Wales, south to Victoria and most of Tasmania, with the exception of the far south coast. It is also found in New Zealand.
Chirodota occurs on reefs under rocks buried in sediment, at low tide levels and below to 10 metres.
It is occasionally found in rock pools at mid-tide level.
Bennett, I. (1987) W.J. Dakin's classic study: Australian Seashores. Angus & Robertson, Sydney.
Davey, K. (1998) A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. New Holland, Sydney.
Edgar, G.J. (1997) Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed Books, Kew.
Jones, D. & Morgan, G. (1994) A Field Guide to Crustaceans of Australian Waters. Reed, Chatswood.
Quinn, G.P., Wescott, G.C. & Synnot, R.N. (1992) Life on the Rocky Shores of South-Eastern Australia: an illustrated field guide. Victorian National Parks Association, Melbourne.
Marine Research Group of Victoria (1984) Coastal Invertebrates of Victoria: an atlas of selected species. Museum of Victoria, Melbourne.
Macpherson, J.H. & Gabriel, C.J. (1962) Marine Molluscs of Victoria. Melbourne University Press & The National Museum of Victoria.
Shepherd, S.A. & Thomas, I.M. (1982) Marine Invertebrates of Victoria, Pt. 1. South Australian Government Printer, Adelaide.
Underwood, A.J. & Chapman, M.G. (1993) Seashores: a beachcomber's guide. New South Wales University Press, Sydney.
Wilson, B.R. & Gillett, K. (1979) A field guide to Australian Shells: Prosobranch Gastropods. A.H. & A.W. Reed, Sydney.
Womersley, H.B.S. (1987) The Marine Benthic Flora of Southern Australia. pt.1 , South Australian Government Printer, Adelaide.