Sea cucumbers are marina animals that are found on the ocean floor throughout the world. Many are shaped like the vegetable after which they are named. Others resemble giant caterpillars with a rectangle shape and small appendages that act as legs. This sea cucumber is approximately 1m (3 feet) in length. It was making its way across the coral in Fiji, propelling itself in slow motion. Feeding on rotting debris on the seabed, they break down animal and plant matter that is then more easily processed by bacteria. Essential to keeping the ocean clean and free of rotting organic debris, they feed continuously, processing massive amounts of waste due to their great numbers. In deeper regions of the ocean, sea cucumbers make up a large proportion of the animal life. They are capable of surviving in shallow water or in areas that are several kilometers deep. Most sea cucumbers have no eyes. A few species have light sensit9ve organs that function similar to primitive eyes. Most possess tube feet that they use for locomotion. Their mouths are made up of tentacle-like appendages that filter food from the water and draw it into their mouth. These creatures filter obtain oxygen using organs that are located in the anus. They draw water into their anal cavity, extract oxygen and expel the water. Scuba diving is a sport that allows people to immerse themselves in a very unusual world where the animals are like nothing we find on the surface.
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