Strange creature is not a sea cucumber: biologists

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Strange creature is not a sea cucumber: biologists

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A strange sea creature recently spotted in Taiwan’s waters for the first time looks like a sea cucumber, but is actually a type of shell-less mollusk, a marine biologist said on Tuesday.

The species — named Epimenia babai Salvini-Plawen in 1997 — was spotted in the Chaojing Bay Conservation Area in Keelung, said Chiu Yuh-wen (邱郁文), a researcher at National Cheng Kung University’s Center for Research in Water Science and Technology.

Several divers have also reported seeing the marine creature.

Although it looks like a sea slug, it belongs to a small class of shell-less marine mollusks known as solenogastres. They mainly feed on soft coral polyps and have been found to live on carnation tree corals, Chiu said.

Keelung’s National Museum of Marine Science and Technology’s is to closely study and observe the species and urges anybody who spots a specimen to report it to the museum, so it can gather more information, exhibition and education division head Chen Li-shu (陳麗淑) said.

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