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79. A sea cucumber of the Synaptidae family


A sea cucumber of the Synaptidae family slouches over a sandy bottom in search of food.

Sea cucumber are marine animals of the Holothuroidea class and belong to phylum of the echinoderms (Sea cucumbers, brittle stars, starfish, sand dollars and urchins).

They use their tentacles to sweep over the substrate to catch food and deliver it into their mouth. As omnivores they swallow everything that’s edible. By doing so they are essential organisms for the functioning of marine ecosystems and are one of the most important groups of animals in the recycling of different types of organic matter of coral reef sediments.

Synaptid sea cucumbers have a worldwide distribution and are found from the tropics all the way to the boreal parts of our oceans. They inhabit a wide variety of habitats but are more likely to be spotted by recreational scuba divers on coral reefs and seagrass meadows.

These strange but active animals don't have tube feet and they move by means of waves of symmetrical contraction and relaxation of their muscles that propagate in a wave down their entire body. Their body covering is quite sticky because of the tiny hooked and anchor-like sclerites that project through the skin out of their soft bodies. This is why they stick so easily on sponges and other marine invertebrate life.

Sometimes Emperor Shrimp (Zenopontonia rex, previously known as Periclimenes rex and before that as Periclemenes imperator) live in a commensal relationship on these sea cucumbers. The Emperor shrimp uses the Synaptid sea cucumber as a way of transportation. As they hitch-hike on the slow moving sea cucumber they travel great distances in an effortless manner. The Synaptid sea cucumber does not benefit and is not harmed by the little crustaceans.

These Echinoderms with a snake-like body, sometimes called “snake sea cucumber” or “worm sea cucumbers” can grow easily up to 2m/6ft or so.

Fun fact; sea cucumbers breathe through their anus, they extract oxygen from water in a pair of "respiratory trees" that branch inside their anus. Breathing happens by drawing water in through the anus and then expelling it.


Although this sea cucumber likely produces no audible noise, I've chosen to incorporate sounds that "may resemble" the collection of detritus by the alien-like animal's feeding tentacles and the intake of this matter into its gullet. These sounds are added artificially to complement and enhance the visual content. The added sound effects give viewers an auditory cue to what's happening on screen, and it just makes the clip more enjoyable and even more spectacular to watch.

The music for this underwater videoclip was also chosen carefully to evoke the characteristics of the somewhat strange and alien-like creature.

Because in the context of creating an underwater video, the primary goal is to engage and entertain the viewer. Adding the right type of music and artificial sounds has been a purely creative choice to engage viewers and make this underwater videoclip more entertaining by providing both visual and auditory elements that align with the sea cucumber's behaviour.

Filming location:

This short underwater videoclip has been filmed in Bali, Indonesia 🇮🇩

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