Sea cucumber: an animal or a plant?

There are over 1200 different kinds of sea cucumber in the waters – so numerous that experts aren’t sure how many there are. Some have your favorite sports team’s colors on them, while others resemble a huge zucchini crocheted out of brown acrylic yarn. Even if you’re not a fan of live sea cucumbers, you may eat them in restaurants or take them as medication. However, is it an animal or a plant if you were to guess what the sea cucumber is?

It’s an animal, yet doesn’t it resemble a plant? The fact that they are referred to as “cucumbers” does not imply that they are plants. It’s an echinoderm, a kind of marine animal that includes starfish and sea urchins among its members. Pentameric symmetry distinguishes this sort of creature, with five points arranged around a center point.

Sea cucumbers: an animal or a plant?
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But how can you characterize a sea cucumber’s appearance when it resembles a huge zucchini that no one wants to eat? It has the appearance of a slob rather than a celebrity. It has five rows of tubular legs extending from his mouth to his anus, giving it an expressionless look. Sea cucumbers, also known as holothurians, have a different strategy for reproduction than humans. They are born as either males or females, but they may change their gender throughout their lives.

With tentacles buried in their mouths, sea cucumbers graze on small creatures, algae particles, and marine trash. Their lips feature a ring of nerve endings that instruct the brain when to feed, hide in the sand, or attack the opponent. The sea cucumber’s protection system is surprisingly strong, despite its unremarkable look.

The sea cucumber has super abilities

Sea cucumbers: an animal or a plant?
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Sea cucumbers have a one-of-a-kind capacity to regrow organs that have been lost. Some species spit out a sticky spider-like thread to catch food, while others produce a poison that paralyzes tiny aquatic animals.

Sea cucumbers’ nutritional value

Sea cucumbers: an animal or a plant?
©iStockphotos

Because sea cucumber is considered a delicacy in many Asian nations, several animal species are threatened. Certain species may fetch anything from $ 10 to $ 600 per kilogram in China’s marine marketplaces, while one species can get $ 3,000 per kilogram.

Traditional Chinese medicine uses sea cucumbers to treat aged muscles, weakening immune systems, weariness, and arthritis, among other diseases. Some healers believe they can help with cancer treatment. As a result, several sea cucumber species are going extinct.

Consequently, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has added roughly 377 sea cucumber species to its Red List (IUCN). Seven are endangered, and nine are vulnerable.

However, we must safeguard the sea cucumber’s biodiversity! They are valuable as seafood, but they also filter water, which is beneficial to ocean ecosystems.

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