Sea Slugs By Arthena Nguyen

Sea Slugs (Holothuroidea)

Holothuroidea also known as the sea slug can be located world-wide and it lives in shallow and deep depths of the ocean. It also lives in salt-water and is usually found on coral or rocks.

People commonly mistake a sea slug as a sea cucumber because of its elongated body shape that looks like a cucumber. The sea slugs are herbivores which they like to eat algae, plankton and decaying matter on the ocean floor and its predators are crustaceans and fish. Some species of sea slugs can protect themselves by wrapping their tentacles around its predator so it doesn’t eat it, other sea slugs are defenceless. Another of its adaptations is that it can blend in with its surroundings like coral, urchins or plants on the ocean floor.

Sea slugs are hermaphrodites which they have female and male reproductive organs so they don’t need to mate with other sea slugs. The way they lay their eggs is that it releases a sticky ribbon into the water which contains thousands of eggs. When the eggs hatch the baby sea slugs, which are called larvae, start developing to be a grown sea slug.

Sea slugs can range in size from just a few millimetres to more than 30 centimetres and it has smooth skin that if you held it, it would slip out of your hand. They also can be found in several different colours and markings.

The sea slug can be useful in keeping the algae levels at a minimum and although the sea slug leads a relatively motionless existence, they are important to the marine environment. Scientists have found thousands of sea slug species that are found all over the world and it is estimated that there are over 1000 species that haven’t been discovered. Its endangered status is least concern. Sea slugs are not only harvested for food by humans, but are also used in traditional medicines because it is said that sea slugs have healing properties.

Even though sea slugs are thought to be slimy and disgusting, they’re still animals and we should look after them to before they become critically endangered and in my opinion, some are very cute.