Cotton Spinner

This is a member of the sea cucumber family which are related to starfish.

It is found in the deeper parts of the kelp forests and on sandy seabeds. This cucumber-shaped, and sized, animal is most often encountered around the south of the island. The cotton spinner has a mouth at the ‘head end’ with a very long gut finishing at the anus on the other end. The gut has to be very long and convoluted as the sea cucumber feeds on microscopic food found in the sand and on the seabed. This diet is very poor in nutrients so the long gut enables the most food to be digested. The name cotton spinner comes from the defence used against predators. The sea cucumber is able to spit out part of its very sticky gut which binds up the attacker allowing the cucumber to safely crawl away! After a while it is able to re-grow its lost gut and then continue feeding on the seabed.

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