White Sea Cucumber  Eupentacta quinquesemita



Smaller than the Orange sea cucumber, the White sea cucumber only reaches four inches.  Besides the light creamy color, the other distinguishing feature are the tube feet. They are not retractable into the body wall and usually are stuck out rather stiffly from the five tube feet tracts.  They are found in areas with hiding places among hard objects such as boulder areas or on floats among mussels where they are quite common.  Found from the low intertidal to shallow subtidal waters, they range from Alaska to Baja California.  Like their larger cousin, they feed on plankton and detritus gleaned from the water by their ten tentacles located at the head end (to the right in the photograph).  In turn they are fed upon by several different species of sea stars, such as the Morning sun star, Stripped sun star and the Sunflower sea star.


An interesting defense mechanism used by several sea cucumbers, including the White sea cucumber, is the evisceration of part of the digestive system and other body organs when handled roughly.  The missing parts are re-grown.  This may serve to divert a predators attention away from the main animal allowing it to live.