Apr 16, 2009

Holothurian from the Benthic Zone

You are looking into the alien face of a Holothurian from the Benthic Zone. They are most often found in the gamma quadrant of the Loratadine star system, though most recently they've made incursions into the Paxil super cluster.

All right, this creature may not be an alien, but he is a holothurian from the benthic zone. Or, in layman's terms, a sea cucumber that can be found scavenging among the debris at the bottom of the ocean. New word: if you're one of those creatures that abides in the lowest level of a body of water (benthic zone), you are called a 'benthos'. Try dropping that on the next cretin who cuts you off in traffic. That'll show him.

Photo source: Smithsonian via The Echinoblog

Christopher sent these photos along, and he's pleased to announce that the Smithsonian has opened their United State Arctic Research Program (USARP) website. So for all of you fans of freezing water, the deep sea, and gigantism, go and have fun exploring the site. You'll find all sorts of denizens like our friendly holothurian here.

Thanks, Christopher.


April Lorier said...

Wow! Gives a whole new meaning to CUCUMBERS! Thanks for ruining my salads forever! :->

Jens Alfke said...

At first I read the length scale on the first photo as "5m", not "5mm", and was momentarily terrified that the Arctic Ocean was about to disgorge monsters to punish us for melting the ice caps. (Actually they look sort of like the Omoo in the classic manga/anime "Nausicaa"...)

It does read "5mm", right? Right?

hydrolagus said...

That's one crazy-looking holothurian! It looks almost arthropod-like (minus having a crunchy coating).

Anonymous said...

creepy, yet oddly cuddly...