Warty Sea Cucumber (Parastichopus parvimensis)
Contributed by TPERP Dan Wieder
Where to find them: They are found on the Pacific coast of North America, from Monterey to Baja California.
Found among rocks in low intertidal and sub intertidal zones. They migrate to deeper waters from August to November, nearly disappearing from the waters of Southern California.
What do they eat: They eat detritus (small particles of organic matter) within the mud and soft sediments.
Who eats them: Fish, gastropods, crustaceans, sea stars, including the Sunflower Sea Star. Humans also eat the Sea cucumbers, especially in Asian countries.
Size and Color: They have a sausage-shaped body that can grow up to 10 inches in length. Their color varies from orange-yellow to reddish brown. The warty description comes from the numerous black tipped projections surrounding the body.
Reproduction: Males and females release their sperm and eggs into the water using an external broadcasting method, so fertilization happens mainly by chance. Spawning takes place usually in November with the female able to lay thousands of eggs.
Interesting facts: When first handled, the body is soft, but with rough treatment, it becomes thick and rigid.
If the sea cucumber is roughly handled or placed in water that is too warm, it will expel most of its organs out through its anus in a process called evisceration. These organs are regenerated in one to two months. This evisceration process also occurs each year to cleanse itself of the detritus in its system.
Scientific Name: Parastichopus parvimensis
Common Name(s): Warty Sea Cucumber.
Brandon, Jeffrey L. Rokop, Frank J. 1985. Life Between the Tides.
San Diego: American Southwest Publishing Company of San Diego
Last revised 20-Dec-15