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Echinoderms - Holothurians

Class Holothuroidea: Sea Cucumbers

Sea cucumbers are very slug-like in form and seem like a very large, shelless mollusc. Because of their five-sided body plan, they are more closely related to seastars and sea urchins and belong to the Phylum Echinodermata.

This mollusc-like appearance is because sea cucumbers often crawl with one side of their body in contact with the substrate or lie buried in soft sediments. The mouth is at the front end, and the excreta expelling anus is at the rear end. Sea cucumbers eat plankton and detritus.

Small photo of Chirodota a holothurianThe pink or brown coloured Chirodota gigas, is the most common sea cucumber found along southern New South Wales shores ranging to north-eastern Tasmania, but only the far eastern coast of Victoria.


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.

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.



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photo of Keith DaveyLife on Australian Seashores
by Keith Davey (C) 2000

Learning Consultant - Media
The University of Newcastle

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Scientific Consultant: Phil Colman
site created 01.01.98 : updated 01.04.2000