July 14, 2000
From: Mark Franey
While diving at a depth of 50', on a sandy bottom next to a ledge, in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, I observed a slug like critter that looked mostly off-white with brown blotches crawling on the bottom filtering the sand, I assume, for food. It was catapillar like, and couldn't swim. It was about 10" long and 3" in diameter. What do you call it? What do they eat?
firstname.lastname@example.orgFraney, M., 2000 (Jul 14) Mystery from Florida, USA. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/2712
You don't give me many clues, but from its length, and 'caterpillar like' body, you probable saw a Sea Cucumber.
Have a look at the Sea Cucumber Page for a photo of a sea cucumber. The most noticeable feature would have been a circle of feathery feeding tentacles at one end, which are used to collect its food - minute organic particles which form a thin layer over the sand and mud on which it lives. There is also a photo in a message from the Mediterranean of a sea cucumber which sounds somewhate similar to your description.
Sea Cucumbers are close relatives of Starfish and Sea Urchins.
If it didn't look like a sea cucumber then you will need to send me a drawing or photo, so I have a few more clues.
Sea Cucumber not Nudibranch
From: Andrew J Seaman, April 9, 2010
Sea slug of a non-mollusc kind
From: Bob Ahrens, March 3, 2008
Sea slug from Egypt
From: Andrzej Jankowski, February 15, 2008
Phyllidiid mimic from Nth Sulawesi
From: Mirjam Broos, May 30, 2007
Grand Cayman Nudibranchs ?
From: Brian Mayes, September 1, 2006
Sea Cucumber from North Carolina, USA
From: Nancy Undercoffer, August 18, 2006
Trying to identify this giant slug species.
From: Walter D'Alonzo, July 14, 2006
Sea cucumber from Turks & Caicos Ids
From: Martin Banford, July 29, 2005
What is this?
From: Jeremy Wood, July 5, 2005
From: Pamela, March 16, 2004
Sea Slugs spawning?
From: Dave Lyons , March 11, 2004
Re: 'Sea Cucumbers' in Korea
From: Richard Collins, November 18, 2002
'Sea Slugs' but not Sea Slugs
From: Edy Budiman, June 30, 2002
Fact or Fiction
From: B. Michael, June 6, 2002
Please help with this ID
From: Matt Rains, January 18, 2002
Mystery from the Maldives
From: John Chuk, September 23, 2001
Re: Sea Slug from Alaska?
From: Kathryn McDonald , June 29, 2001
Sea Slug from Alaska?
From: Kathy McDonald, June 28, 2001
Sea Cucumbers in Korea
From: S. Katcher, June 16, 2001
What is a 'bêche de mer'
From: Geoff Brady, April 6, 2001
From: Dave Behrens, September 7, 2000
From: Mary Arroyo, September 6, 2000
Sea cucumbers of the Azore Islands
From: Denise Merys, July 1, 2000
Re: mystery animal from NE Pacific
From: Dave Behrens, June 2, 2000
Re: Ascidian or Sea Squirt
From: Gary Ouellette, June 1, 2000
Re: mystery animal from NE Pacific
From: Gary Ouellette, May 30, 2000
Re: NE Pacific mystery animal again
From: Bill Rudman., May 30, 2000
Is this a sea slug?
From: Gary Ouellette, May 26, 2000
Mediterranean Sea Slug or Sea Cucumber?
From: Christian VALEZY, May 10, 2000
Are sea slugs & sea cucumbers the same?
From: Mandy, May 4, 2000
Sea Slugs & Sea Cucumbers
From: Carol Vogelman/Steve Peden, January 17, 2000
Nutritional facts about 'trepang'
From: Leevey, March 30, 1999
Economic values of sea cucumber
From: Sarah b. Garchitorena, February 22, 1999
From: Didier, December 14, 1998
From: Mick Frederic, November 6, 1998
Sea Cucumber secretions
From: Bruce Livett PhD, June 18, 1998