Tag: Urchins, Starfish, Sea Cucumbers, etc. (Echinoderms)

Echinoderms are a large and incredibly diverse family which are generally split into two main sub-families.

The first sub-family, Eleutherozoa contains many of the more familiar groups such as the Starfish (Asteroidea), Brittle Stars (Ophiuroidea), Sea Urchins and Sand-Dollars (Echinoidea) and Sea Cucumbers (Holothuroidea).

All of these groups are classed as MOTILE meaning, they have the ability to move freely.

The second sub-family are the Pelmatozoa which consists primarily of the Feather Stars Crinoids.

Crinoids, in their adult phase are Motile, although they are often seen anchored to sponges or corals. They are more active by night, during which time they can be seen feeding, or slowly moving around. In order to reach a more favourable feeding spot, Crinoids have the ability to "swim" by waving their arms in a rhythmic motion before coming to rest and anchoring to a solid substrate.

Echinoderms are a large and incredibly diverse family which are generally split into two main sub-families.

The first sub-family, Eleutherozoa contains many of the more familiar groups such as the Starfish (Asteroidea), Brittle Stars (Ophiuroidea), Sea Urchins and Sand-Dollars (Echinoidea) and Sea Cucumbers (Holothuroidea).

All of these groups are classed as MOTILE meaning, they have the ability to move freely.

The second sub-family are the Pelmatozoa which consists primarily of the Feather Stars Crinoids.

Crinoids, in their adult phase are Motile, although they are often seen anchored to sponges or corals. They are more active by night, during which time they can be seen feeding, or slowly moving around. In order to reach a more favourable feeding spot, Crinoids have the ability to "swim" by waving their arms in a rhythmic motion before coming to rest and anchoring to a solid substrate.

Alan's picture
Chalky Sea Cucumber (Bohadschia Marmorata)

This photo of a Chalky Sea Cucumber (Bohadschia Marmorata) was taken at Tanote Bay, Koh Tao

Alan's picture
Crown Of Thorns Starfish (Acanthaster Planci)

Another close-up of the infamous Crown Of Thorns Starfish (Acanthaster Planci). This individual was just one from the few seen during a single dive at Shark Island, Koh Tao.

Alan's picture
Black-Fringed Sea Cucumber (Holothuria Leucospilota)

This front view of the frequently encountered Black-Fringed Sea Cucumber (Holothuria Leucospilota) clearly shows the "papullae" protruding from the skin.
These are one of the most obvious characteristics that distinguish this species from the closely related Black Sea Cucumber (Holothuria Atra).

Alan's picture
Variegated Sea Cucumber (Stichopus Variegatus)

This photograph of a Variegated Sea Cucumber (Stichopus Variegatus) was taken at Sail Rock, at a depth of around 25m.
The light was pretty poor so the photograph isn't the best, but it shows quite clearly the characteristics of this species.

Alan's picture
Magnum Sea Cucumber (Neothyonidium Magnum)

If i am correct in my assumption that this is a Magnum Sea Cucumber (Neothyonidium Magnum), then this photograph would indicate that they are present in differing colour variations.

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Magnum Sea Cucumber (Neothyonidium Magnum)

This Magnum Sea Cucumber (Neothyonidium Magnum) was photographed at one of their most common locations, below Chaloklum Pier!

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Ocellated Sea Cucumber (Stichopus Ocellatus)

This Ocellated Sea Cucumber (Stichopus Ocellatus) was photographed at a depth of around 25m, at Sail Rock.
The white-edged spots after which it is named are clearly visible.

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Warty Sea Cucumber (Cercodemas Anceps), Black Sea Cucumber (Holothuria Atra), Medusa Worms (Synaptula Lamperti)

This Warty Sea Cucumber (Cercodemas Anceps) was photographed under Chaloklum Pier, Koh Phangan (one of the best places to find one) and was obviously feeding at the time as its colourful "retractable feeding tentacles" are fully extended.

Alan's picture
Godeffroy's Sea Cucumber (Euapta Godeffroyi)

The Godeffroy's Sea Cucumber (Euapta Godeffroyi) is one of a number of related species of Sea Cucumber that are often found clinging to Barrel Sponges (Xestospongia Testudinaria).
These large sponges are often covered in a layer of algae, which is one of the main food sources of the Godeffroy's Sea Cucumber.

Alan's picture
Pin-Cushion Starfish (Culcita Novaeguineae)

This olive coloured variation of the Pin-Cushion Starfish (Culcita Novaeguineae) is certainly less common in local waters.