June 16, 2001
From: S. Katcher
I was recently in Pusan, Korea. On the beach there, there were a number of sea animals in tanks outside of small fish eateries. One animal was a pink-colored, tube-like, seemingly hollow form of at least 12 inches that undulated in the tank. It had no eyes or other obvious sensory features that I noticed (although I assume it had sense organs somewhere). It seemed to have an opening at one end. It reminded me of a long party balloon, except instead of having the balloon knotted at one end to keep the air in, there was just an opening.
The people we were with said that in Korean the animal is called "kaybuhl." In Japan, we were told that there is a smaller version of the animal called "namako." When we looked up the definition of the words, the English translation was "trepang" and "a sea cucumber." I do not think the animal we saw was a sea cucumber, however.
Is anyone familiar with this particular species that I have described? Can you refer me to a book or other source that would have a photograph?
firstname.lastname@example.orgKatcher, S., 2001 (Jun 16) Sea Cucumbers in Korea. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from http://www.seaslugforum.net/find/4578
Dear S. Katcher,
There are different sorts of sea cucumbers, some hard and leathery others soft with waves of muscle contrcations down their bodies which would fit your description of undulating. I don't know the Korean word but the Japanese 'namako' is a sea cucumber. If you have a look at a page on the Nagasaki Marine Lab ebsite you will see a set of photos showing the gutting process that occurs before the animal is dried for storage.
I am not an expert on these animals however and only tolerate them on the Sea Slug Forum because they are sometimes called 'sea slugs'.
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