Animal Encounters

Fun Animal Encounters

From a hairy tarantula to a talking African gray parrot, you never know what you’ll bump into in Ranger Rick's Backyard Safari at the Tennessee Aquarium!

LEARN MORE

Animal Keeper

Animal Keeper Updates

Get a peek behind the scenes of the Aquarium’s Husbandry department. Read their weekly animal updates and get an insider’s look at caring for over 10,000 animals and plants.

ANIMAL UPDATES
INVERTEBRATES

California Sea Cucumber

Parastichopus californicus

ON EXHIBIT:  Boneless Beauties at Ocean Journey.

California Sea Cucumber

FUN FACTS
This species is the largest type of sea cucumber along the Pacific Northwest coast.  The species feeds by sifting through sediment on the sea floor.  Its primary predators are large sun sea stars, but they are also eaten by sea otters and humans. 

CONSERVATION
Sea cucumbers are considered a delicacy in many Asian countries and are the focus of a growing commercial fishery.  Harvesting sea cucumbers has become so popular that many species are in danger of becoming overfished.  Management plans are being put into place to help protect these populations by setting quotas and minimum size limits, ending harvesting during breeding seasons and improving population monitoring.



Fan Photo

Send
us your fan photo of this animal

About This Animal

SIZE: Up to 16 inches

RANGE: Alaska to Isla Cedros, Baja California

HABITAT: Rocky and soft sea floors; from intertidal to about 300 ft deep

DIET: Detritus and small organisms