While people tend to focus mostly on the ocean’s more aesthetically pleasing inhabitants, there are a lot of bizarre-looking organisms worthy of your attention. Some of them are even considered valuable!
At first glance these guys look like a cross between a slug, a root vegetable, and a creature from Mars, but they’re actually one of the most fascinating creatures in the ocean.
This may look like a giant fly larva, but it’s actually a fascinating sea creature.
This strange, leathery creature is related to starfish, sea urchins, and sand dollars, and is an incredibly popular meal in places like China even though it takes days to prepare them. Can you guess what it is yet?
It’s a sea cucumber, of course! Fishing for sea cucumbers is a booming industry in places like Sierra Leone, where a fisherman can make up to $100 per night. That’s enough to support an entire family.
But overfishing has caused their population to dwindle, which could have a serious consequences for the oceanic ecosystem.
Sea cucumbers play an important role in the health of the sea floor. They eat dead and decaying plants and animals and keep the water clean.
They have a unique way of protecting themselves, too! To ward off threats and startle predators, they expel their internal organs and then retract them. Ew!
They also breathe in a very unusual way. Their network of tubes circulates water that is pulled inside their… uh… anus.
Who knew that something so funny-looking could be so valuable or interesting? They must taste pretty good if so many people eat them—but you might want to stick to regular cucumbers just in case!
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