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Home > Ocean > Life in the Deep > Deep Sea Cucumber

Life on the Sea Floor

These creatures live on or just underneath the surface of the very bottom of the ocean, on the abyssal plain. Called sea pigs, they are a type of sea cucumber, which is a member of the same phylum as starfish and sea urchins (Echinoderms). They look and act kind of like slugs do up here on land. They feed on the mud of the sea floor, benefiting from the organic materials that settle to the ocean bottom. Sea cucumbers, starfish and sea urchins can be found in all depths of the ocean. For reasons scientists don't yet understand, members of the phylum Echinodermata (like the sea pigs) are extremely successful down in the ocean depths. They are the most plentiful species of sea creature down there. The sea floor must be "hog heaven" for these sea pigs! This guy does look kinda like a pig, doesn't he?

Sea pig

(Photo courtesy of Paul Yancey, Biology Dept.,Whitman College, Walla Walla Washington)

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