Mystery Creature revealed – the Sea Pig

How did you do with this week’s Mystery Creature? A few people got it right… here is a clue…

Thanks to Abby Whyne for this witty response!
Thanks to Abby Wynne for this witty response!

That’s right it is a sea pig – no, not like the one above, more like this…

 

Photo credit : Ocean Networks Canada
Photo credit : Ocean Networks Canada

What a weird looking creature and here are some weird facts about the sea pig:

Sea pigs (Scotoplanes) are types of Sea Cucumbers.They live in the dark abyss of most oceans (between 1000 and 6000 metres deep).  Many of the Mystery Creatures featured on this blog are at threat of extinction but the sea pig is not among them, in some ocean depths it is thought to make up 95% of the animal population.

Sea pigs can often be found in large groups (more than 100 animals), all moving along the ocean floor and facing in the same direction.

They move along on their many legs which are actually hydraulically inflated feet. There are up to seven pairs of these feet, usually one or two pairs are found on the upper body of the animal.

Like the land pig they like to root in the dirt to find their food but sea pigs eat organic deposits that have fallen to the sea floor. They have a ring of feeding tentacles around their mouth that feel for food.

Sea pigs have a minimalistic approach to body orifices. That tentacle encircled mouth is also the creatures anus! But that’s not all… the same orifice often serves as home to a small fish called a pearl fish… not exactly my idea of prime real estate, but then I’m not a pearl fish.

if that isn’t enough the sea pig will sometimes eviscerate through the same hole, it literally expels it’s intestines and other organs in one rapid movement. This may be for defence purposes or to purge the body of toxins before the organs are regenerated within the animal. Certainly the most extreme detox I ever heard of!

Certainly one of the weirdest Mystery Creature I think this blog has featured, what do you think?

My kids just loved this video and have (unfortunately) been quoting it all weekend, in their best Morgan Freeman accent. Take a look, it is quite funny…


 

nao

Science blogger and writer; Owner of Dr. How's Science Wows; Mother of three junior scientists who have taught me that to be a great scientist you need to look at life through the eyes of a child!

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