Re: mystery animal from NE Pacific

May 30, 2000
From: Gary Ouellette

Thanks Bill for posting my question.  In the posting you think it's a ascidian, but in the e-mail I received from Robert A. Koch, Ph.D., he says it's not. (Department of Biological Science, Cal State Fullerton, P.O. Box 6850, Fullerton, CA:

Koch writes "I am not an expert on marine invertebrates.  I can tell you that it is not an ascidian.  Here are the comments of a colleague. Roger Seapy... "The longitudinal rows of dark structures on the side of the body almost certainly are tube feet - which makes this animal a sea cucumber.  If my memory serves me correctly, it very well could be Cucumaria miniata
Hope this helps."

So, I guess I'm still searching because it does not look like a sea cucumber either.

Thanks for your help anyway.


PS.  The next chance I get I'm going back out to take more pics of this thing.

Oellette, G., 2000 (May 30) Re: mystery animal from NE Pacific. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from

Dear Gary,
Nothing like a good mystery. It looks to me like something which a marine biologist from your part of the world would recognise quite easily. Hopefully one of them will contact us.

I didn't even bother mentioning that it looked like a holothurian or Sea Cucumber because they do not usually live exposed on intertidal rocky shores, and certainly don't live attached at one end like your animals seem to be doing. I still think a Sea Squirt is a good possibility and next time you are back, check to see if they attached at on end, and if so, see if they have two openings (siphons) etc and whether they squirt out some water when gently squeezed.

In the meantime let's hope someone who is familiar with the fauna will let us know what they are.
Best wishes,
Bill Rudman.

Rudman, W.B., 2000 (May 30). Comment on Re: mystery animal from NE Pacific by Gary Ouellette. [Message in] Sea Slug Forum. Australian Museum, Sydney. Available from


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